Hebrews 6 is a pivotal chapter in Paul’s presentation of Jesus Christ to the Hebrews. He is getting ready to show them some things, in chapters 7 through 10, that Jews are going to have a hard time accepting. He is going to prove to them that Jesus Christ and the New Testament, rather than the law and the Old Testament, are the way of salvation for Israel.
Therefore, these Jews must have the faith of Christ and keep the commandments of God in the Tribulation. If they don’t do both, then they must know that it will be impossible to renew them again unto repentance, if they fall away, Heb 6:4-6.
Before discussing Hebrews 6 in detail, we’re going to do a quick review of Paul’s major points concerning Jesus Christ in the first five chapters of Hebrews. This way we will have a better understanding of what Paul is trying to accomplish in chapter 6.
Chap 1. Jesus, the Son of God and creator of the world, purged our sins and sat down at the right hand of God. He is greater than everything he created, as he will outlive his creation. Even his angels are his ministers.
Chap 2. Jesus Christ became a man, a descendant of Abraham, and tasted death for every man that he might destroy the devil, who has the power of death, make reconciliation for the sins of the people as a faithful high priest, and help his brethren that are tempted like he was.
Chap 3. Jesus Christ’s house is comprised of all those who believe in him and hold fast the beginning of their confidence stedfast unto the end (of the Tribulation).
Chap 4. Jesus Christ, the great high priest, will extend mercy and grace to help all those to enter “his rest” in his millennial reign, who do not fall because of unbelief, like the Jews in the wilderness did.
Chap 5. Jesus Christ, called of God to be a priest, by being obedient unto death, became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.
Hence, eternal salvation is available to a Jew only through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and promised seed of Abraham, who died to purge our sins and reconcile us to God, and who now sits at the right hand of God. In the Tribulation, Jews who believe in Jesus must hold fast the beginning of their confidence to the end, labor to enter their rest in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, and not fall away because of unbelief.
So, in Hebrews 6, Paul is going to encourage them to go on from these basic doctrines to the stronger meat of chapters 7 through 10. In these four chapters he’s going to prove the inadequacy of the Old Testament priesthood, covenant, blood, and sacrifices in contrast with the perfection of Christ’s priesthood, covenant, blood, and sacrifice in the New Testament.
In chapter 7, he’ll deal with Jesus Christ as a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec, rather than after the tribe of Levi. In chapter 8, he’ll deal with the fault of the Old Covenant and the fulfillment of the New Covenant in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. In chapter 9, he’ll deal with the superiority of the heavenly tabernacle and the blood of Christ over the earthly tabernacle and the blood of bulls and goats. In chapter 10, he’ll deal with the one sacrifice and offering of Jesus Christ which perfects for ever them the are sanctified, which the sacrifices of the Old Testament could never do.
The nation of Israel as a whole, still blinded by unbelief, Rom 11:25, Is 6:9-10, is going to reject Paul’s assertions about Jesus Christ in this epistle.
A remnant of individual Jews, though, will believe what he has written here. However, their challenge will be to continue in this belief stedfast to the end.
Because of the threats of death against them, Rev 2:10, 6:9, and the preaching of false apostles, Rev 2:2, 2:9, and 3:9, they will be tempted to fall away. Thus, Paul writes Hebrews 6 to encourage them to “lay hold upon the hope set before us”, v.18. Otherwise, it will be impossible to renew them to repentance if they fall away.
The theme of Hebrews 6 is “hope unto the end”, v.11. Therefore, Tribulation saints must hope unto the end:
By going on unto perfection, v.1-3. Paul knows that the pressure will be on Hebrew Tribulation saints to justify themselves by the law of Moses rather than by the faith of Christ, Rom 10:1-4. He dealt with this problem in Galatia. When he wrote the epistle to the Galatians, Paul tried to undo the damage done by men who came behind him trying to put the Galatians back under the law of Moses, Gal 5:1-12.
Therefore, in this epistle, Paul teaches them more doctrine than the foundational principles of the doctrine of Christ, v.1-2. These foundational doctrines of Christ are necessary for salvation. However, a Jewish Tribulation saint may be persuaded to fall away if he doesn’t understand that the law makes nothing perfect, Heb 7:19, but the one offering of Christ does, Heb 10:14.
If God permits, v.3, he wants them to “go on unto perfection”, v.1. But this may be hard for them to do since they are “babes”, Heb 6:13, and “dull of hearing”, Heb 6:11
By not falling away from Christ, v.4-8. Notice that Paul is writing to saved Jews in this passage. They were enlightened, Ps 19:8. They have tasted of the heavenly gift, Jn 4:14, 6:35. They have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, Jn 3:3-7. (Note: they are born again by the Holy Spirit, but they are not baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, since the body of Christ will be raptured, before the Tribulation begins). They have tasted the good word of God, 1 Pet 2:2-3, and the powers of the world to come, 2 Pet 1:3.
If they fall away, v.6, it is impossible, v.4, to renew them again unto repentance, v.6. Whether they fall away because they don’t endure to the end, Heb 3:6, 14, or because they get bewitched into not obeying the truth, like the Galatians, Gal 3:1, or because they take the mark of the beast and worship the beast and his image, Rev 14:9-11, they are doomed for ever. Any of these is a rejection of Christ and is as if they crucified him again, v.6.
Those who endure to the end and don’t fall away are like “the earth which drinketh in the rain… and… receiveth blessing from God”, v.7. Those who don’t endure and who fall away are like the “thorns and briers whose end is to be burned”, v.8.
By laboring diligently unto the end, v.9-12. Paul encourages them by writing, “we are persuaded better things of you”, v.9. Though he has warned them, he believes that they will do the “things that accompany salvation”.
Paul reminds them that “God is not unrighteous to forget (their) work and labour of love”, v.10. They “ministered to the saints and do minister” which is essential in the Tribulation, Jas 2:14-17, 1 Jn 3:14-18. They all need to “shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end”, v.11.
If they want to inherit the promises (of rest from their labour in the millennial reign of Jesus, Heb 4:9-11, and of land among the tribes in Israel, Ezek 48) they cannot be slothful. Instead, they must follow the faith and patience, Rev 14:12, Jas 5:7-11, of those who will inherit the promises, v.12.
By following the example of Abraham, v.13-15. God, by himself, sware an oath to Abraham in Gen 22:16-18. “Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee”. In the context of this oath, God promised to multiply his seed as the stars and the sand and promised that “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed”. Abraham obtained the promise in Jesus Christ, Gal 3:8, 16, after he had patiently endured. Likewise, the Tribulation saints must patiently endure unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, Jas 5:7.
By patiently enduring till they obtain the hope, v.16-20. God promised by two immutable (unchangeable) things, his oath and his counsel, v.17, “in which it was impossible for God to lie”, v.18, that the heirs of promise would have their hope of salvation, if they patiently endure, v.15.
These are the ones who will “have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before (them)”, v.18. Notice their instruction to flee in Matt 24:17-21, when the abomination of desolation stands in the holy place, Matt 24:15, during the Tribulation.
Their hope is Jesus, the forerunner, who is the sure and stedfast anchor of the soul, who has already entered within the veil, “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us”, Heb 9:24. They cannot give up hope that Jesus will return for them. They must patiently endure; he will definitely come, Rev 22:20.