"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 [a common thing],
and hath done despite to the spirit
of favor."Hebrews 10:29 .
THE APOSTLE is here evidently contrasting Moses and his Law with the Antitypical Moses and the greater Law. Any one who despised the Law of Moses, the arrangement made and established through the typical Law Covenant, was condemned to death, a sentence from which he is to be released through the merit of Christ. Since that condemnation was merely of a temporal character this does not affect his eternal interests.
It is evident that there is a difference between these two condemnationsthat if any one should come under the condemnation of the Antitypical Moses his punishment would be even more severe. This severer, or "sorer punishment," we understand to be the "Second Death"utter annihilation. If any one despises the Law of God, in any particular, as expressed through Christ and the New Covenant arrangement, he will be worthy of the Second Death. This principle, we see, will apply all through the Millennial Age, in the sense that any and every one who, after being brought to a knowledge of the provisions and favors that God has brought to him through Christ, shall then treat the matter lightly and fail to reciprocate such love, fail to be obedient to this arrangement for his relief, will be counted unworthy of receiving any more favor of God and will go into the Second Death. Evidently, however, the Apostle is not here considering what will happen at the end of the Millennial Age, and we merely mention it incidentally to show the wide scope of the comparison between Moses and Christ.
The Apostle is not applying this text, however, to the world, but to the Church. All the context shows that he is addressing the Church, those who have been begotten of the holy Spirit, those whose sins have been covered by the imputation of Christ's righteousness and who, in the strength of that covering, are justified, have presented their bodies living sacrifices. For what purpose do we thus make consecration? It is in answer to our Lord's invitation to drink of his "Cup"; to be baptized into his death; to suffer with him as members of his Body, that we may reign with him and be his members on the plane of glory, members of the Spiritual Israel, the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, for the great work of blessing natural Israel and through natural Israel, all the families of the earth.
So, then, the Apostle, in bringing this matter to our attention, is discussing the Church and what will happen if any of usnot any of us who have merely turned from sin, and have realized that Christ is the great Atoner for our sinsno, but those of us who have been justified through faith in his blood and have been sanctifiedthose of us who should then fall away.
We remember that on the night of our Lord's institution of the last Supper, the same night in which he was betrayed, when he took the cup he said, "This cup is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." God's intention regarding this blood, as the blood that will seal the New Covenant, is that it should be efficacious to the remission of all the sins of Adam and his children. This was the purpose, the object for which our Lord's blood was shed. "This is my blood," not your blood. It is the blood or life that I am giving, that I consecrated when I was begotten, and that I am to relinquish today upon the cross (for it was then the same day or part of the same day in which he was crucified). This which is mine todaythe blood that will seal the New Covenant between God and menI invite you to participate in. "Drink ye all of it." All of you drink of it and drink all of it. Leave none. The invitation to participate in this blood, this cup, is never to be given to any other people or class but youyou who are specially called for this purpose. Not only you Apostles to whom I now speak, but all those who shall believe on me through your word, and who similarly shall make this consecration and undertake to be baptized into my death, I invite to drink of my cup.
The Apostle asks concerning this cup of which we participate in the communion, "Is it not the participation of the blood of Christ"? (I Cor. 10:16.) We answer, Yes. Is not the blood of Christ the blood of the New Covenant? Are we not, therefore, participating in the blood of the New Covenant? In the participation, therefore, in that blood, by the invitation of our Lord, are we not sharers in his "Cup" and all that pertains to it? Yes. What does this mean to us? A great deal. We should be very thankful for the great privilege we have been accorded to share in his "Cup," to be "baptized into his death." As the Apostle Paul declares in the [R4605 : page 148] third chapter of Philippians, I count all things as loss that I might win Christ; that I might have fellowship in his suffering; that I might be baptized into his death; share his "Cup" of suffering; so should we. Paul counted every other interest and consideration as of no value in comparison with this great privilege of the Gospel Age, which is accorded us.
Now, if we should ever lose sight of this wonderful privilege, if we should ever come to the place where we fail to appreciate the fact that we have been invited to share in our Lord's "Cup," have been invited to participate with him in this blood of the New Covenant, this blood which is to ratify, to seal the New Covenant, it would be doing despite to all these privileges and favors which have been specially given to us, but never given to any other people in the world and never will be given again, a great privilege never offered to the angels, but offered only to the Lord Jesus Christ himself, and those who would have his spirit during this age.
If, then, we lose our appreciation of that "Cup" and say that it is only an ordinary thing, only such as all nominal Christians have thought it to be; only turning away from sin and trying to live an upright life; it is not a special sacrifice; it is not a participation in the blood of Christ at all, nor drinking of his "Cup," then we are despising and rejecting all the privileges that were offered to us specially, above those offered to any other people. It would signify that we had despised the whole arrangement and that something was wrong with our heartsproviding, however, we did it intentionally, willingly, knowingly, after we had seen that this is the privilege of sacrifice, after we had known that we were accepted as members of Christ, to "suffer with him, that we might also reign with him."
For all such as have ever had this clearer knowledge and appreciation, to turn away is to reject this "blood of the Covenant," and to do despite to it, and to fail to use the privileges offered. In undertaking to use these privileges they had first, of necessity, to make the sacrifice of the earthly nature. It therefore follows that there is nothing left for them, for they have scorned the new nature and the Lord's provisions which are obtainable only through participation in the sacrifice of Christ. No opportunity for restitution is left them. Hence the only thing for them is that which is appropriate for those who despise God's arrangement after they have once understood it, and that is the Second Death.
The "sorer punishment" mentioned by the Apostle (Heb. 10:29) is the "sin unto death." Are we competent to point out who have committed that sin? For our own part we would prefer not to exercise judgment in the matter, but merely to say that such judgment is for the Lord. We will not make any decision until we see the Lord's judgment.
The Apostle says that we are not to judge one another. If, for instance, you should say, I believe that Jesus died and that he is our Redeemer, but I have lost that idea which I once had of our being invited to become dead with him; to share with him in his suffering at the present time and later the glory that shall followshould we then say to you, Oh, you have committed the sin unto death; you have despised the blood of the Covenant wherewith you have been sanctified, and therefore, having no restitution privileges to go back to, you have practically gone into the Second Death condition? We answer, No. We do not understand that it would be for us to judge you or to decide respecting you, because we do not know to what extent your previous declarations were true. We do not know that you ever understood what you were doing when you thought that you had made a full consecration. Perhaps you did not understand yourself. Therefore, we prefer to say that since we are not sure in the matter it is not for us to judge. However, we are to remember what the Scriptures say in this connection, "The Lord will judge his people." If, therefore, we should see that, after you had rejected the blood of the Covenant by which you have been sanctified or specially set apart as a sacrifice, as a member of the Body, God had turned you aside apparently and had withdrawn all light from you and had thrust you out of his favor, to the extent that we could see this, we would be justified in saying to ourselves at least, whether we mentioned it to another or not, that the Lord was dealing with you.
We cannot imagine that if anyone would reject the Lord in any sense of the word it would still leave him in [R4606 : page 148] the light of Truth. We must understand that if anyone rejects the Lord, the light of Truth will gradually pass from him, and he will see no more than many do, no more than a nominal church-goer or any worldly person. Such passing into outer-darkness is a sign that the Lord's favor has been lost. To what extent it has been lost we might not wish to determine, but if, in conjunction with this, there is manifested the character of the Adversary, the spirit of Satananger, malice, hatred, envy, strifethen we should conclude that the Spirit of the Lord had left and that the loser was dead"twice dead, plucked up by the roots"Jude 12.
It would not be worth while to pray longer for such a one, especially after we had done all in our power. God is willing to do all that can be done, but he has certain fixed laws and principles, and if anyone has once enjoyed these and then scorned them, the Lord would not change his principles for any prayers, even though offered carefully with tears.