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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hebrews chapter twelve

Heb 12:1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Heb 12:3  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Heb 12:4  Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Heb 12:5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Heb 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Heb 12:8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Heb 12:9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
Heb 12:10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Heb 12:12  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
Heb 12:13  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
Heb 12:14  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Heb 12:15  Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Heb 12:16  Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
Heb 12:17  For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
Heb 12:18  For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
Heb 12:19  And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
Heb 12:20  (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
Heb 12:21  And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
Heb 12:22  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Heb 12:23  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Heb 12:24  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Heb 12:25  See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
Heb 12:26  Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
Heb 12:27  And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Heb 12:28  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Heb 12:29  For our God is a consuming fire.

God’s love is a consuming fire. His love consumes our self-sufficiency, if we look at His love. The writer of Hebrews (WoH) was saying to those Christian Jews, How could you not but yearn to have the same relationship your victorious ancestors had with Jehovah, as seen in Hebrews chapter 11? The Hebrew converts were seeing a whole new view of their people’s history through the eyes of faith which the WoH gave them. They were again “made partakers of the Holy Ghost” (Heb. 6:4) as he represented the all-star cast in the Hall of Faith illustrating that cast by the beautiful Milky Way decorated with thousands of stars in the night sky.

Let there be no encumbrances or stumblingblocks. Let us lay aside every sin that besets us from having that perfect faith and rest of your fathers. Get ready for Jesus to return when He appears “the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Heb. 9:28). We must look at Jesus who bent all of His energy to reveal the secret to spiritual success; that is, true heart obedience to God’s will that came out in His life. Let us behold His patience and we will learn of Him.

“Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” We don’t start our redemption and have Jesus finish it. Nor do we let Him start it and then we take over and finish it. Jesus must begin it and end it. It’s Jesus at the start, at the end, and every step of the way. “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6). As we behold His suffering and His patience through it all, we will become changed into His likeness.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor. 3:18). “Looking unto Jesus … who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Heb. 12:2-4). They needed to be reminded the cost to Father and Son that our redemption required of Them.

“And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.
And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.
And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with Me one hour?
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.
And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” (Matt. 26:37-44).
“And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Lk. 22:44). By the time Jesus left the Garden of Gethsemane He was bloody all over. Before being flogged to just short of death, He was already what symbolized His appearance in type as the red heifer—the great, unique sacrifice that was red all over (see Num. 19).

The Jewish Christians didn’t know the real meaning of agonizing over the presence of sin and striving against temptation. Do we today? We will—that is, all who will know the power of faith and the gift of agape love to overcome sin, which is “righteousness by faith” (Gal. 5:5) or “the righteousness of faith” (Rom. 4:13).

All who will learn the true experience of godliness will pass through the similar experience of their Lord in Gethsemane. They will receive the power of the sons of God to wrestle against Satan and to overcome his temptations. They will have the experience that Paul had, and Moses and David and all the prophets and champions of faith listed and not listed in the Old Testament, that small remnant that passed down through the corridors of time, the seed of Eve in whom the Spirit of God put the wisdom to recognize temptation and a hatred for it. This great cloud of witnesses, most of whom did not make the headlines of the world’s presses, were like Joseph and Mary who were heirs to the throne of Israel; they went unnoticed and unhonored, though they were just, justified by faith and rulers in God’s estimation.

 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation….” (Heb. 12:5). The admonitions of their ancient scriptures were not a collection of sanctimonious sayings that they should forget the inspired and holy word of God.

“[Moses] said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.” (Deut. 32:46,47).

If Moses had lived in Paul’s day, he would have changed nothing of his message to the Jewish Christians. The new sophisticated world of the violent and self-indulgent Roman Empire changed nothing of the eternal principles of truth and goodness that established the eternal foundation of the eternal kingdom of heaven. Paganism’s seductive government was a delusion, though it was pervasive; all the previous admonitions and statutes of right and wrong still applied as if written yesterday, and they would be relevant forever.

“If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deut. 30:10-20).

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son….” (Heb. 12:5). The law, though hard to the core, has mercy and love mixed into it. The promises of parental guardianship that the Spirit of Christ mingled with stone-hard requirements were understood by Israelites who did the same to their children. The Lord needed to be demanding and unbending on the standards of holiness and His lessons of right and wrong in order to keep up a flagging national tendency to mistreat each other and to mistreat God after all that He did for them continually. But, He also knew that the Israelites had their own family related demands and unbreakable requirements that living in a society brings, so they should not be surprised that the Lord their God would not also have demands and immutable laws for the house of Israel. He appealed to them as children, beloved children in whom He delighted.

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” (Heb. 12:5,6). This last quotation comes from Proverbs, which originally did not sound so harsh. “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of His correction: for whom the LORD loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom He delighteth.” (Prov. 3:11,12).

The writer of Hebrews (WoH) was quoting the Septuagint. “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loves, He rebukes, and scourges every son whom He receives.”

If the WoH was Paul, he could speak so boldly because he knew what being scourged was. “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us.” (2Cor. 1:8-10).
 
“In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” (2Cor. 11:23-28).
 
And Jesus Messiah the Lord of lords and Prince of princes, who inspired this epistle to the Jews, knew the experience of being “made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used” (Heb. 10:33). Providentially placed in the poorest of castes, He experienced “the spoiling of your goods” (Heb. 10:34) by being spent of what little life offered. In life and in death, He endured “such contradiction of sinners against Himself” (Heb. 12:3) as no victim of circumstances ever knew. Because all that He has suffered as the lowest among us, He has all authority to trumpet the truth. “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:… And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.” (Jn. 5:22,27).

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” (Heb. 12:7-10). The hardships and tragedies that life brings us comes from above; for though Satan is the cause of them all, nothing can hurt God’s children unless it passes His all-wise and loving approval. He must use trouble to keep us sober and alerted to our weakened natures and propensities to sin.

Therefore, He has always taken responsibility to trouble and tragedies, even saying that He brought them. “See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand.” (Deut. 32:39). “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isa. 45:7). In this respect, He scourges His children. But we deserve it.

“For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me.
I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.” (Deut. 32:40,43).
 
“To Me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” (Deut. 32:35). This warning and all the other warnings made no impression on the twelve tribes because they would not read them, until the messages of Isaiah came with renewed force only a few years before the northern kingdom was removed from the Lord’s presence forever.
 
“For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.” (Isa. 10:22,23). This same language was applied to the southern kingdom of Judah in the message from Daniel. “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Dan. 9:26,27).

We need the hard sayings of the word of God that is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12). Even if it “worketh wrath” (Rom. 4:15), the word of God is better than the lawlessness of Satan’s kingdom, and the dull, apathetic humanism and impossibility of humbling and sorrow for sin that comes without a strict standard of a loving father. “Where no law is, there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15). Even if sin is not imputed, there being no law to impute and condemn sin, the horrific affects upon the soul remain“death reigned” (Rom. 5:13,14). Where there is no perceived transgression there is no humbling and repentance and resulting health-giving peace-filled resolution to life; therefore, a pall of spiritual, emotional, psychological, moral death reigns.

The word of God, His Law, chastens us, but the Lord is chastising us only for our good, “for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.”

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Heb. 12:11). Punishment and discipline look messy and undesirable until the end result arrives.  When the Lord’s children finally come around, [“if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Heb. 3:14)], then our hearts are settled and at rest, we are meek and beautiful. After the dust settles, and putting righteousness into us was like wrestling an alligator, the Lord is no worse for the wear; we are.

Wrestling with us doesn’t make Him sweat at all; all He has to do is give us a love tap on our posterior like we do our toddlers, and our pride is down for the count. Then we know that He is greater than we are, and His will is supreme. Then we are comforted and happy. We cling to Him as our Lord and Master, our Abba; and now we can do the things that He says, humbled and grateful for His victory over our out-of-control self. “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1Tim. 1:5). Now, we can be like Jesus. The God of peace sanctifies us wholly (1Thess. 5:23). “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (Jas. 3:18).

“Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Heb. 12:12-13). Nothing brings life and health to us like peace and rest! Peace with God and peace with our brethren and neighbors. Peace with God and surrender to His chastisement will give new vigor to our minds and hearts, our flagging arms, and knocking legs. God’s grace imbues us with power to become the sons of God, to straighten our paths for our direct blessing and as examples to others to help them get their blessings also. In this divinely inspired construct miracles happen, the sick are healed body and mind and soul, and God is glorified.

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14). “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (Jas. 2:13). “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom. 12:18). God doesn’t call us to self-imposed abuse or martyrdom. But, we can lay down our wants and even needs in order to win the heart of those who have never had the privilege of witnessing self-sacrifice and experiencing the benefits of grace. “They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.” (Ps. 69:4).
 
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Heb. 12:15).  The WoH alludes to the Lord’s counsel through Moses and connects spiritualism to missing out on the heavenly gift of grace from God.

“Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst.” (Deut. 29:18,19).

Gall and wormwood were very bitter. The root of bitterness comes from our natural first birth, being separated from God and his perfect peace and happiness. Only His grace can mitigate that bitterness, Satan’s chastisement of our peace. “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5). Seeing the Messiah absorb all of our venom and wretchedness and evil upon Himself daily as He ministered to the graceless during His life, and especially so on the cross, will give us the same grace He gave the people when He was here. Out of His infinite love came His grace; and out of the sinner’s acceptance of His grace comes his comprehension of Christ’s divine love. If we have partaken of His ministry, we should seek to minister to others; for the whole world is suffering under the loveless, graceless bondage of Satan.

The root of bitterness springs up into thorns and thistles.

“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 renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (Heb. 6:4-8). This very thing happened to the ten tribes of ancient Israel.
 
“What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant: and He looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” (Isa. 5:4-7).

 “The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.
And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes.…
And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns.
With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.” (Isa. 7:17-24).

“For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
(For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
And to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh.” (Heb. 12:18-25).

Here the WoH is once again, urging the Jewish Christians to remain faithful to the truth newly revealed from heaven. Judaism was a sinking ship, a ghost ship that was dead in the water. It was decayed and waxed old. The time was now to circumcise the old covenant, so corrupted with bland humanistic paganism and with their thorny and caustic characters, and to bring forth the new.

The original old covenant had done its job, to put the fear of God in the people. Now that that had happened in a very small remnant, God could open to them the rich treasure of His spiritual blessings. As Paul wrote, “If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” (Rom. 11:14).

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!” (Isa. 40:1-9).

“For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:25-29).

The WoH reiterates some of his earlier warnings.

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
For we know Him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:26-31).

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.” (Heb. 2:1-3).

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Heb. 4:1).

This is the good gospel and the present truth. To refuse it is to despise it, and to despise the One who gave it, because He gave the message by giving up his own eternal life first. How can we neglect so great salvation?

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