Saturday, 16 February 2019
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” Hebrews 10:30
The word “For” is given to support what was just said concerning those who trample the Son of God underfoot, count the blood of the covenant a common thing, and insult the Spirit of grace. In such conduct, the remedy comes from the Lord. As it says, “For we know Him who said.” From there, the author will cite two thoughts which stem from the Old Testament. The first comes from the Song of Moses as is recorded in Deuteronomy 32:35 –
“Vengeance is Mine, and recompense;
Their foot shall slip in due time;
For the day of their calamity is at hand,
And the things to come hasten upon them.”
As can be seen, the substance of the quote is the same, containing both vengeance and recompense, even if the form is changed. What will come upon those who have so rejected Christ is guaranteed because it comes from a truth which is revealed in the word of God. As the word is an extension of who God is, and as God cannot lie, then vengeance and recompense are assured.
In the author’s loose citing of Deuteronomy, he probably just called the verse to mind from memory to give the general idea of what lies ahead for those who fit the description of the previous verse. Paul also cites this same thought in Romans 12 –
“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.’” Romans 12:19
In both Romans and Hebrews, the exact same words are used in the Greek, but because they don’t match either the Hebrew or the Greek of the Old Testament, there are a few possibilities concerning the quote –
1) There is another common source, apart from the original Hebrew and the Greek OT, which the authors of Romans and Hebrews cite.
2) The words had become a proverbial saying, and so Paul and the author of Hebrews both say it as it had become commonly stated. Or,
3) Paul is the author of both Romans and Hebrews.
The third option is the most likely, as was explained in the introductory comments to the book.
The second citation of the verse is a direct quote from the Greek translation of Deuteronomy 32:36 (cited here from the Hebrew) –
“For the Lord will judge His people
And have compassion on His servants.”
It is also substantially found again in Psalm 135:14 –
“For the Lord will judge His people,
And He will have compassion on His servants.”
In these quotes, the author is showing that the Lord’s people, meaning Israel, are not above being singled out for His wrath and punishment. As noted in the previous verse, this is speaking of those of Israel who rejected what Christ has offered, just as someone in the civil war (we used Mr. Wales as an example) might have rejected the amnesty offered to him. In such a case, it was the responsibility of the re-formed union to search out and destroy the unyielding rebels. So also will God search out and destroy those who refuse to come to Christ.
Life application: When it comes right down to it, we can repeat the words of Hebrews 4:13 here, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Despite being perceived as a cosmic pushover who overlooks sin just as we might forget it, God sees every wrong deed and – because of His righteous nature – must judge such offenses. Not only will He judge them, but He will repay them according to His very nature. Without the blood of Christ, an eternal affront to His glory (any sin) demands an eternal separation from that same glory.
Just as the cross has eternal significance for the believer, it also must carry the same eternal significance for the non-believer. Don’t be lulled into a false belief that God doesn’t judge – He does. The question for each soul then is “Are my sins to be judged at the cross in Jesus or at the final judgment in me?” Choose wisely today – choose Jesus.
Lord, that You have given us the choice concerning our relationship with you, it demonstrates the severity of the matter. If Jesus’ cross can pay for every sin, then every sin not laid on it must be judged with condemnation. Thank You for giving us the Gift of Jesus. Thank You that we are freed from eternal punishment because of Him. Help us to get this word out to the world. Amen.