Wednesday, 13 February 2019
…but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Hebrews 10:27
As noted in the previous verse, the thought being presented speaks of a willful rejection of Jesus Christ by those who are then not saved by Christ, not a willful sin after being saved by Christ. For those of Israel who hear the word, fail to accept it, and draw back to temple worship instead of going forward to Christ, there is only “a certain fearful expectation of judgment.”
The word, “fearful,” is used for the first of three times here. All will be in Hebrews. It is the Greek word phoberos, and it signifies “fearful” or “terrifying,” thus prompting someone to withdraw. One can see the root of the word “phobia” there. Instead of coming near to God through Christ (Hebrews 7:19), there will be a recoiling away from Him as judgment looms.
The word translated as “judgment” is ekdokhé. It signifies a sentence coming out from a judge which is then passed on to the one who is judged; thus, getting what one deserves. This is exactly what can be expected for the one who rejects Christ’s sacrifice. The point of Christ’s cross is that He has received the judgment of God for man’s sin in Himself. If that is accepted, then the expectation of judgment is behind. For those who expect atonement from an animal which only looked forward to Christ, their judgment remains.
In such judgment then there can only be expected “fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.” The mental picture takes the reader back as far as Numbers where the people failed to trust in the Lord. In Numbers 11, at a place called Taberah (which means Burning), the fire of the Lord came out and burned some in the camp. Again, at the time of Korah’s rebellion, fire came out from the Lord and consumed two hundred and fifty offenders who failed to believe the word of the Lord concerning the leadership of Moses and Aaron.
Such incidents were given to Israel to show them the consequences of unbelief. The fire is a demonstration of the Lord’s punishment, and that is to be the expectation of anyone who rejects the Lord’s offer of mercy and forgiveness which the Old Testament continuously pointed to.
Life application: To apply this verse to believers would be wholly inappropriate. It is being addressed 1) in judgment; 2) in expectation of the Lake of Fire (of which the Old Testament types foreshadowed); and 3) to the enemies of God. But the Bible says those who believe in Christ are safe from these things through the blood of Christ. Christian judgment is not for destruction, but for the granting or loss of rewards. Remember to always think through the purpose and intent of passages – what is being addressed and under what circumstances.
Thank You Lord that through the cross of Jesus we can be reconciled to You, and in that reconciliation, You are not counting men’s sins against them. Instead of the fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire, we look forward to a judgment based on our lives as Christians. May we be found worthy of reward and not loss on that day! Amen.