Hebrews 12:3-8

3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;

6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.

consider (v.3) — reflect upon — Christ’s example

hostility (v.3) = to speak or act against

These persecuted Jews, mistreated by their brethren after the flesh who were still clinging to the temple sacrifices, are exhorted to thus contrast this opposition which they were meeting, with that endured by Messiah, and to do this in order that they would not be weary, fainting in their souls. — Wuest, page 217.

Himself (v.3) — some manuscripts read “themselves” (see Numbers 16:38)

discouraged in your souls (v.3) — weariness of soul

resisted to bloodshed (v.4) — They hadn’t yet been tried and persecuted for their faith to the death (as many had and as Jesus did).

forgotten (v.5) — Proverbs 3:11-12; 13:24 (Job 5:17; Psalm 94:12)

despise (v.5) — make little of, treat carelessly

chastening (v.5) — used for the training and education of children — instruction to increase virtue — not punishment, but correcting

When the time of chastising, the Great Tribulation, takes place, Hebrews must suffer even unto blood, even unto the death of a martyr. To despise what was taking place would be evidence of rebellion rather than submission, and that would be unacceptable. To faint during what was taking place would be evidence of not enduring to the end, and that would be unacceptable as well.

How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him (Hebrews 2:3).

The answer to the rhetorical question of Hebrews 2:3 has been confirmed in this passage: there is no escape and the chastening is to be endured, not despised. — McLean, page 174.

love (v.6) — agape

receives (v.6) — recognizes as a son

Verse 7 should read “It is for chastening you are enduring … “

endure (v.7) — The Hebrews should “remain under” the chastening hand of God.

Those who would reject the Messiah and return to the Old Testament religion would prove themselves not sons.

In the Old Testament, Israel was taught to regard any visitation of God’s disciplinary measures such as drought and famine or enemy attack, as a sign of His displeasure with His people because of their sins. Hence, these Hebrews in the first-century would naturally regard this persecution in the same light. The writer hastens to assure them that instead of this chastening being an indication that they were not right with God, it was a proof of their sonship, for all sons are partakers of chastening. Those among them who would not submit to this chastening were, therefore, unsaved. — Wuest, pages 218-219.

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