4) Hebrews 5:11-6:9 If They Shall Fall Away
1) Hebrews General
2) What was the Reason for the Message?
3) The Problem
4) The Solution
5) The Principles
6) The Risk and Warning
7) Are These Hebrews True Believers? Hebrews 6:4-5
8) Filled or Sealed with the Holy Ghost?
9) Reason for the Risk, and the Sign of Failure
10) Comments by Others
The Harper Collins Bible Dictionary under chronology (page 180) list the writing of Hebrews between 55 A.D. and 95 A.D., the Scofield Study Bible (NIV 1967 Version page 1594) list the date of writing as 68 A.D., and many believe it had to be written before 70 A.D. when the temple was destroyed (See Hebrews 10:11). The Jews are considered to be Hebrews as descendants of Abram (Abraham) who is first called a Hebrew in Genesis 14:13. The name of the writer is not stated in the letter and is considered to be unknown, but many feel the writer is Apostle Paul, including the writers of the Authorized King James Version who named the letter “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews”. Those who feel that Paul wrote the Epistle generally believe he withheld his name because the Jews would not have accepted his doctrine, because of the resentment they had toward him related to his ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21-22). The destination of the letter is unknown, the Harper Collins Bible Dictionary under Hebrews (page 412) states, “The greetings from (“those in Italy” Hebrews 13:24) make Rome the most likely destination. The fact that Hebrews was first quoted by Clement of Rome (1 Clem. 36:1-4) further strengthens the case for a Rome audience.” Others feel the destination was Jerusalem, or another city.
What was the Reason for the Message?
The section of the scripture from Hebrews 5:11-6:9 states a problem, the solution, a warning of the risk if it is not solved, the reason for the risk, and the signs that indicate how to determine who has the problem, were these Jews in danger of being “rejected” and “cursing” and to be “burned” (Heb. 6:8), “If they shall fall away” (Heb. 6:6)? The writer seemed to be “persuaded (Strong’s 3982 to assent, trust, have confidence) better things of you (the Hebrews), and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.” (Heb. 6:9) But still the writer does “thus speak”. Why? There had been indications of their faith, “ye endured a great flight of afflictions;” (Heb. 10:32), but there was still a reason for the message and an indication of concern. We can understand this message, and the situation, by including the Strong’s number with the definition of key words into the scriptures much like an amplified bible does, comparing other scriptures that use these same key words, and using other scriptures provided by various sources. The sources used include commentaries by most of the authors listed in the Books Used for Reference list.
“(11) ye are dull (sluggish, lazy, stupid) of hearing. (12) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first (746 a beginning, commencement) principles (4747 orderly in arrangement, ABC’s of the Old Testament) of the oracles (3051 a divine response or utterance) of God; and become such as need of milk (1051 rudimentary spiritual teaching), and not of strong (4731 solid, stable, sure) meat (5160 nourishment, deeper subjects of faith). (13) For everyone that useth milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness for he is the babe (3516 not speaking, a simple-minded person, immature Christian).” (Heb. 5:11-13) These Jews (Hebrews) were continuing in the milk, the rudimentary or beginning spiritual teachings, they were still having a difficult time advancing beyond the Old Testament teachings and rituals of Judaism, that were a, “shadow of good things to come” (Heb. 10:1), that is Christ, and moving on to, “strongmeat belongth to them that are of full age (5045 complete, man, perfect, finished).” (Heb. 5:14) The Old Testament taught the, “principle (746 beginning) of the doctrine (3056 Divine, thought, or instruction) of (or about NIV) Christ” (Heb. 6:1-2) which were, “a shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5) and “carnal (4561 flesh, the body as opposed to the soul or spirit) ordinances (1345 tabernacle rituals), imposed on them until the time of reformation (1357 making straight).” (Heb. 9:10) “But Saul (Paul) increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.” (Acts 9:22), “saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:” (Acts 26:22) They needed someone to teach them again how, “the principles of the doctrine of Christ” (Heb. 6:1) were all leading to Christ who had now come. Their lack of ability or willingness to move on to a deep spiritual understanding had left concern as to whether they had truly accepted the, “Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29)
“Therefore (1352 through which thing, i.e. consequently: -for which cause) leaving (863 forsake, omit, put (send) away) the principles (746 beginning) of the doctrine (3056 instruction) of (or about NIV) Christ, let us go on to perfection (5047 completeness); (Heb. 6:1) This indicates that because of something, or for which cause, the problem just explained, there is something which should be done to solve the problem. The something to be done is leaving, and the things to leave are, “the principles of the doctrine of Christ.” Due to what these Hebrews were to leave, the six principles which each follow the word “of” in Hebrews 6:1-2, many conclude that leaving means to leave these principles in place, that is to keep them and build on them. But this greek word (863 aphiem) is used in cases such as, “leaving the natural use of a woman” (Romans 1:27), and “leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30), and the Strong’s concordance with Vines states, “to leave, not to discuss now, (a topic), used of teacher, writers, and speakers” (Heb. 6:1). Peter states, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving (5277 hupolimpano to leave behind) us an example“ (1 Peter 2:21), which is a word that is used for something left behind to be used, not something that is to be left by forsaking or omitting like (863).
“not laying (2598 to throw down, cast down) again the foundation (2310 something put down, i.e. a substruction of a building) of” (Heb. 6:1). The word laying and foundation hold the key to the interpretation of Hebrews 5:11-6:9, including why these Hebrews were to entirely leave (forsake, omit) “the principles of the doctrine of Christ”, and why this was the solution to the problem. Most interpret this section of scripture as if it says not building (laying) again the foundation of, where they take the foundation to be the principles that follow “of” which are seen as, “principles of the doctrine of Christ” to be kept, and deeper doctrines to be built upon them. The greek word used here for laying (2598) is only used two other times “for the accuser (Satan) of our brethren is cast down” (Revelation 12:10) out of heaven, and “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;” (1 Corinthians 4:9) where Apostle Paul is “cast down” as an Apostle. There is no indication “laying” has to do with building again, but instead it indicates not laying (casting down) again.
“For other foundation can no man lay (5087 to place, to put, lay down, set) than that is laid (5087), which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11) Note the words used “lay” and “laid” mean to put something in place, which is totally different than to cast down something, and this foundation is Christ. “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the cornerstone; (204 belonging to the extreme corner)” (Ephesians 2:20). “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16) The Strong’s Concordance with Vines Dictionary states in the definition of foundation (2310) “so in 2 Timothy 2:19, where (the foundation of God) is (the foundation laid by God,) - not the Church (which is not a foundation), but Christ himself, upon whom the saints are built; Hebrews 6:1” The foundation in Hebrews 6:1 is Christ.
Now the solution to the problem may be stated: “Therefore (1352 for which cause, the problem) leaving (863 forsake, omit, put (send) away) the principles (746 beginning) of the doctrine (3056 instruction) of (or about NIV) Christ, let us go on to perfection (5047 completeness); not laying (2598 to throw down, cast down) again the foundation (2310 something put down, which is Christ) of” (Heb. 6:1) The solution is to leave completely the beginning principles of the doctrine about Christ, and not cast down again Christ himself which is the foundation of these principles. The principles that follow the “of” are “a shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5) which pointed forward to Christ, but were now to be abandon in place of Christ himself. These Hebrews were continuing to have a difficult time leaving the traditions of Judaism, and if they turned back to Judaism they would be casting down Christ.
There are six principles that are listed in Hebrews 6:1-2 that are associated with the Old Testament and Judaism. The writer addresses Jews (Hebrews) that might be considering casting down Christ, and turning back to Judaism due to their weak spiritual knowledge of Christ (Heb. 5:11-14), and persecution (Heb. 10:32-39). The six principles which were a shadow of Christ to come each begin with “of” and are as follows:
(1) of repentance from dead works.
“of repentance (3341 after thought, change of mind) from dead (3498 a corpse) works (2041 toil, deed, an act, labour)” (Heb. 6:1) The NIV interpretation is “from acts that lead to death” (with a Note at the bottom of the page “or from useless rituals”) Strong’s Concordance with Vines states in reference to (dead 3498) “the works of the Law, in as much as however good in themselves, Romans 7:13, they cannot produce life, Heb. 6:1; 9:14” “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offer himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works (useless rituals NIV) to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14) “(1) For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offer year by year continually make the comers there unto perfect.”, “(10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”,“(18) Now where remissions of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Heb. 10:1,10, 18) These Hebrews were told to leave (863 put away) the dead works (useless rituals) of Judaism, and not lay (2598 cast down) again Christ which is the foundation of repentance (3341 change of mind) from the need for those useless rituals of the law, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come” which is Christ. Although these ritual sacrifices “are offered by the law; (NIV - the law required them to be made)’ (Hebrews 10:6), they were useless without faith (Romans 9:30-32), now faith in Christ.
(2) of faith toward God
“of faith (4102 belief, persuasion, convictions of truth) toward God” (Heb. 6:1). “(6) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”, “(2) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God” (Heb. 11:6, 2). “(1) God, who at sundry times and divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” (Heb. 1:1-2) “But unto the Son he (God the Father) saith thy throne, O God,” (Heb. 1:8) The writer of Hebrews states that God the Father calls Christ the Son “God”, that Christ was the word of God that framed the worlds, and that “he that cometh to God must believe that he is” (Heb.11:6). In Judaism in the Old Testament the Jews had faith toward God, but now God “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son”, and revealed that faith toward God must be through Christ. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him (Christ), seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25) “Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) The beginning doctrine about Christ in the Old Testament had spoken of his coming, and now he had come, and the Jews had to leave (put away) the concept that faith toward God was possible any longer without faith in Christ as God the Savior. The word faith appears in Hebrew 11 twenty four times, stating case after case of faith toward God before Christ came. This all leads to the point that follows “Looking unto Jesus the author (747 a chief leader) and finisher (5051 a completer, consummator) of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,” (Heb. 12-2), and leads back to the word author “And being made perfect (5048 to complete, finish), he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” (Heb. 5:9) In summary this reads: Therefore leaving (put away) the principles (beginning, Old Testament Judaism) of the doctrine (instruction) of (or about) Christ, let us go unto perfection (completeness); not laying (casting down) again the foundation (which is Christ) of faith toward God, which is the author (leader) and finisher (completer) of our faith. The Jews are told to go on to perfection (completeness) and Christ is the finisher (completer) of our faith. The word perfection (5047) and finisher (5051) both originate from perfect (5046) which means completeness.
(3) of the doctrine of baptisms
“of the doctrine (3056 instruction) of baptisms (909 ablution: ceremonial or Christian)” (Heb. 6:2). This specific greek word (909 baptismos) is used three other times and interpreted as washing twice and washings once, and this is the only time baptisms plural is used. This is not the same word used for baptism (908 baptisma), baptist (910 Baptistes, 907 baptizo), baptize (907), baptized (907), or baptizing (907). It is no coincidence the only place where baptisms and washings plural occur is in Hebrews which are both this same word (909). So the meaning of this word baptisms may be easily understood from its other use in Hebrews “(8) The Holy Ghost this signify, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet standing: (9) Which was a figure for the time present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; (10) Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers (1313 varying in kind, diverse) washings (909 ablution), and carnal (4561 flesh, human nature, animal) ordinances (1345 equitable deed, Heb. 9:1, 10 tabernacle ritual), imposed on them until the time of reformation (1357 a making straight, the Messianic restoration).” (Heb. 9:8-10) The word washings here and the word baptisms in Heb. 6:1 are both related to Old Testament rituals and Judaism. The other locations this word is used add to its understanding: “(4) And when they come from the market, except the wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing (909) of cups and pots, brazen vessels and of tables.”, “(7) How be it in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (8) For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing (909) of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.” (Mark 7:1-9) Some interpret this word baptisms (909) means the baptisms spoke of by John the Baptist and Christ with water (Mat. 3:6, 13, 28:19), which they say is a principle of the doctrine of Christ and the foundation, but then they are forced to say that leaving (863 forsake, omit, put (send) away) means to leave in place and build on the foundation. Note this word baptisms is not used anywhere in relation to water baptism, and that interpretation would read, not laying (building) again the foundation of the doctrine of (water) baptisms, why plural? The plural does not seem to fit leaving water baptism for Holy Spirit baptism either. They were to leave the ritual washings of Judaism.
(4) Laying on of hands
“Laying (1936 imposition (of hands officially)) on of hands (5495 hollowness for grasping, a means or instrument)” (Heb. 6:2) The types of laying on of hands listed in the Old and New Testament include: Blessing (Genesis 48:14, 20, Mat. 19:13-15), Transferring sins to an animal related to sacrifice (Leviticus 4:14-15, 16:20-22), Ordaining and setting apart for service (Numbers 8:10-11, 27:18-23, Acts 6:6, 13:2-3, 1 Timothy 4:14), Healing (Mat. 8:3), bestowing the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17-19). Of these various purposes for laying on of hands, the only one that is related to Old Testament Judaism and would be discontinued after the cross is the laying on of hands to transfer sins to a sacrificial animal. This practice of Judaism look forward to Christ: “The next day John seethe Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The Jews were to leave (put (send) away) this Old Testament practice of Judaism which was now fulfilled by Christ. “(18) there is no more offering for sin.” (Heb. 10:16-18)
(5) of resurrection of the dead
“of resurrection (386 standing up again, a raising up) of the dead (3498 corpse, death of the body)” (Heb. 6:2) “I have hope toward God, which they (Jews, Pharisees) themselves allow (4327 admit, wait for, receive favorably), that there shall by a resurrection of the dead, both the just and unjust” (Acts 24:15) The Jews that were Pharisee’s believed in the “resurrection of the dead”, the Sadducees did not (Luke 20:27). Many Jews believed in the resurrection, such as Martha, the sister of Lazarus who Christ raised from the dead (John 11:24). This is not surprising considering references were made to the resurrection throughout the Old Testament, although the word itself was only used in the New Testament. “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2) “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they rise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust” (Isaiah 26:19) “(8) He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;…(9) And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:8-9) “(27) For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (26) And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:” (Job 19:25-26, 14:12-15). “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death;” (Hosea 13:14) These were the “principles (ABC’s of the Old Testament) of the oracles of God” about Christ, these were the principles (beginning) of the doctrine of or about Christ. The Jews that were considering laying (casting down) the foundation that is Christ, and turning back to Judaism without Christ were told to, “go on to perfection”, which was complete faith that all these things were to be accomplished through Christ, and the deeper spiritual understanding that followed this faith. The teaching by Christ and about Christ made this perfectly clear. “(25) Jesus said unto her (Martha), I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (26) And whosoever liveth and believe in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26) “Being grieved (Jewish Leaders) that they (Peter and John) taught the people, and preach through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” (Acts 4:2, John 5:25-29, Roman 6:25) I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the key of hell and death.” (Revelation 1:18)
(6) of eternal judgment
“of eternal (166 everlasting, forever, perpetual) judgment (2917 damnation, condemnation, the sentence pronounced, a verdict)” (Heb. 6:2) This word judgment (2917) differs from the word judgment (2920 accusation, tribunal, investigation) in that (2917) is the sentence and (2920) is the process to determine the sentence. “(1) at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book. (2) And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame (2781 reproach, disgrace) and everlasting contempt (1860 repulse, abhorring).” (Daniel 12:1-2) The Old Testament told of those who would awake from the dust to a judgment. “(12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast down into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:12,15) “(4) Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me. (14) I will ranson them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death:” (Hosea 13:4, 14) The Old Testament told of a Savior and Redeemer that would come (Isaiah 49:26, 60:16). “(11) But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; (12) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Heb. 9:11-12) “(22) For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:” (John 5:22-29), “(18) He that believeth him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18) Christ is the Savior and Redeemer promised in the Old Testament, the Jews believed he would come according to Judaism, and now he had come. Laying (casting down) him as the foundation of redemption from eternal judgment to turn back to Judaism, would leave nothing but, “certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” (Heb. 10:27) “How shall we escape (1628 flee recompence and judgment) if we neglect so great salvation;” (Heb. 2:3)
The Risk and Warning
“(4) For it is impossible (102 unable, weak, not possible)…(6) If they shall fall away (3895 fall aside, apostatize), to renew (340 to restore) them again unto repentance (3341 after thought, change of mind);” (Heb. 6:4, 6) This is the risk if they do not solve the problem, that is if they do not “go unto perfection (5047 completeness)” which is full faith in Christ not turning back to Judaism. The remainder of verse 4 after the word impossible, and verse 5, address the condition of the faith of these Hebrews, it answers the question: Are they true believers, and will be discussed in the next section below. The question remains now: If these Hebrews are all definitely true Christians, why does the writer suddenly turn from telling them they must go from milk of the word to meat (perfection), to discussing falling away and the impossibility of coming back? Charles Baker in his book, “A Dispensational Theology” (page 456) comment on Hebrews 6, “If this passage proves the possibility of losing salvation, it also proves the impossibility of ever regaining it.” Many people interpret Hebrews 6:1-2 to say we should leave in place the important principles of the doctrine of Christ, and not lay this foundation again but build on it. Keeping in mind this letter is addressed to the Hebrews who fully understand all these principles unlike the Gentiles, we can better understand the real statement of Hebrews 6:1-6 by restating it with the definitions. “(1) Therefore (1352 consequently) leaving (863 forsake, omit, put (send) away) the principles (746 beginning, which is the Old Testament of Heb. 5:12) of the doctrine (3056 instruction) of (or about NIV) Christ, let us go on to perfection (5047 completeness); not laying (2528 casting down) again the foundation (2310 something put down, which is Christ) of (these principles)…(4) For it is impossible…(6) If they shall fall away (3895 apostatize), to renew them again unto repentance (3341 change of mind); seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh (388 recrucify), and put him to an open shame.” (Heb. 6:1-6) Seeing these scriptures together with the definitions it is easy to see the subject of this section was to not cast down Christ, and the risk was to fall away (apostatize) with the impossibility of ever returning to repentance (a change of mind) back to faith. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Heb. 3:12)
Are These Hebrews True Believers? Hebrews 6:4-5
“(4) For it is impossible (102 unable, not possible) for those who were once enlightened (5461 shine, brighten up, give light), and have tasted (1089 to eat, to experience) the heavenly (2032 above the sky, celestial) gift (1431 spiritual or supernatural gift), and were made partakers (3353 participant, a sharer, an associate, partner) of the Holy Ghost, (5) And have tasted (1089) the good word of God, and the power (1411 miraculous power, miracle, strength) of the world (165 ever, evermore, age, era) to come.” (Heb.6:4-5) “That was the true Light, which lighteth (5461) every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9) Notice the word, “lighteth” is the same word as enlighten above, and the Strong’s Concordance with Vines Dictionary states about these words “to make…see John 1:9: Eph. 1:18; 3:9, Heb. 6:4; 10:32, but although every man may “see” they are not all saved.” “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted (1089) thereof, he would not drink.” (Mat. 27:34) Notice the word tasted is the same word used when wine was offered to Christ but “he would not drink”. “(13) Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of the water that I give him shall never thirst; but the water I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14) Christ told the Samaritan woman that drinking the water he gives would be “everlasting life”, but in the previous scripture we notice that tasting is not always drinking. “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;” (Heb. 3:14). Notice these Hebrews are “made partakes of Christ” IF they hold “confidence steadfast unto the end”. Does this mean IF they do not remain steadfast they were not really saved to begin with, or that they could believe and be truly saved and fall away IF they do not remain, “steadfast (949 stable, firm) unto the end”? (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed (4972 mark, to indicate security and permanency) with that holy spirit of promise, (14) which is the earnest (728 a pledge, security deposit) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) This scripture seems to indicate you are sealed (permanency) with the Holy Spirit when you believe, “the gospel of your salvation” that is 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and there are many other scriptures that indicate permanency, but there are other scriptures that indicate a condition like the “IF”, and that always leads to the same question, Does that indicate an unsaved condition to begin with, or can you fall away from true salvation? In the case of Hebrews 6:4-6 doesn’t it say if you do fall away you can not return to salvation? Still many hold the position that these Hebrews had truly experienced the Holy Spirit, but most fail to consider whether you can by “enlightened”, have “tasted”, and be a “partaker” of the Holy Spirit and yet not be truly saved? Or in other words is being filled with the Holy Spirit and sealed with the Holy Spirit the same?
Filled or Sealed with the Holy Ghost?
Ephesians 1:13-14 seems to indicate you are sealed with the Holy Spirit when you believe, and He is a permanent deposit guaranteeing your redemption as a purchased possession, but is this the same as being filled with the Holy Ghost? The answers to a few questions about the filling of the Holy Ghost, will help to determine if it is the same as the sealing when you believe.
(1) Were people filled with the Holy Ghost before Pentecost?
Yes. John the Baptist was, “filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15), that is before his birth, and his mother Elizabeth (Luke 1:41), and father Zacharias (Luke 1:67) were both, “filled with the Holy Ghost” before Christ was born. There are many instances of the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon people in the Old Testament including Bezalel (Exodus 31:2), Saul (Samuel 10:10), Samson (Judges 15:14).
(2) Are people filled with the Holy Ghost at the time they believe?
Not normally. The only case of someone being filled with the Holy Ghost at the time of believing in Acts was at the house of Cornelius, “the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word” (Acts 10:44) In every other instance people were filled with the Holy Ghost sometime after they believed: Twelve Apostles (Acts 2:4), Samaritans (Acts 8:17), Apostle Paul (Acts 9:17), The Ephesians (Acts 19:6).
(3) Can people be filled with the Holy Ghost more than once?
Yes. At Pentecost the 12 apostles, “were all filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:4), and later in Acts, “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 4:31).
(4) Can nonbelievers partake of the power of the Holy Ghost?
Yes. Christ gave the 12 apostles including Judas the power to perform miracles before he sent them out (Mat. 10:8, Luke 9:1) and even though Christ called Judas a “devil” (John 6:70), it would be odd if he had never exhibited any of these powers like the other 11 apostles, considering at the last supper no one suspected Judas (John 13:22). “(22) Many will say to me that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful (1141 miracle) works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work inquity.” (Mat. 7:22-23) In the Old Testament “the Spirit of God came upon him (King Saul), and he prophesied” (1 Samuel 10:10), and later, “the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.” (1 Samuel 16:14)
Reason for the Risk, and the Sign of Failure
The Hebrews had been “enlightened”, “tasted” the good word of God, and the powers (miracles) of the world (age, millennium) to come, and, “were made partakers of the Holy Ghost”. They had either seen the miracles spoken of in Joel 2:28-29 and in Acts 2:16-18, or they may have actually been filled with the Holy Ghost and performed some of these miracles themselves. They were considering laying (casting down) again the foundation (Christ) due to persecution, and because they had not left the Old Testament principles of the doctrine of Christ and Judaism. To cast down the foundation of Christ is to fall away, and then to renew again to repentance (change of mind), would be to crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame. To these Jews who had a full understanding of who Christ is, and had even experienced the miracles as proof, to turn back to Judaism would be to apostatize which is permanent rebellion and abandment of faith in Christ. To fall away and apostatize with a full understanding of the truth is like those mentioned in Thessalonians: “(10) they received not the love of truth, that they might be saved. (11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (12) that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12) They would fall away not because they did not understand the truth, it would be because they, “had pleasure in unrighteousness”. This is similar to the Pharisees who saw miracles of Christ, and knew the scriptures that proved he was Christ, but refused to believe that truth because they had pleasure in unrighteousness (Mat. 12:22-24) “Either make the tree good and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” (Mat.12:33) The writer of Hebrews told these Jews the same message that Christ told the Pharisees in relation to determining who was faithful “(7) For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh off upon it, and bringeth forth herbs (1008 fit for fodder, green herb, growing plant) meat for them by whom it is dressed (useful to those for whom it is formed NIV, equivalent to good fruit), receiveth blessings from God: (8) But that which bearth thrones and briers (equivalent to bad fruit) is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (Heb. 6:7-8) He told them, “But beloved, we are persuaded (3982 trust) better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.” (Heb. 6:9) But still he did “thus speak” because of concern that some were not, “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ” and going on to perfection, to full faith in, “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation”, they may have understood but not fully “believed” (Ephesians 1:13-14). “(1) Moreover brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preach unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I deliver unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
Comments by Others
E.W. Bullinger – Appendixes to the Companion Bible 146 The Foundation of the World page 198
The Noun, Katabole, occurs in Matt. 13:35;25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24; Eph. 1:4; Heb. 4:3;9:26;11:11;1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8;17:8; and the corresponding Verb (Katabollo) occurs in 2 Cor. 4:9;Heb. 6:1; Rev. 12:10.
A comparison of all these passages (especially 2 Cor. 4:9 and Rev. 12:10) will show that Kataballo and Katabole are not the proper terms for founding and foundation, but the correct meaning is casting down, or overthrow.
Consistency, therefore, calls for the same translation in Heb. 6:1, where, instead of “not laying again,” the rendering should be “not casting down.”