Hebrews 6:5

Thursday, 25 October 2018

…and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, Hebrews 6:5

The author now continues his same line of thought which began in verse 6:4. He begins with “…and have tasted the good word of God.” Again, to taste is to experience. The good word of God is the gospel message of Jesus, the Messiah of the Hebrews (who are the recipients of this epistle), and all of the sound doctrine which pertains to this word. It is an acceptance of the truth of Jesus the Messiah as Scripture testifies to.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The language here speaks of the Hebrew people having tasted this good word of God. First, while the temple was still standing, the Jews had this taste and yet, as a people, they were adamantly remaining under the sacrificial system of temple worship. In the first century, these people had both the Old Testament and any word which was then in circulation – either orally or written – which confirmed Jesus’ ministry and spoke of how the Old was fulfilled in the New. By hearing and understanding this word, they could taste and understand its goodness. Adding in the demonstrable proofs of the apostles which testified to the fulfillment of their Scriptures in Jesus, they had surely tasted the good word of God.

Similarly, in the future, another temple will be built. When that comes, will the nation wholly return to the temple worship, or will they hear the voice of the two witnesses and of the 144,000 who are chosen to direct them to their long-missed Messiah?

“…and the powers of the age to come.” The wording here is different than in Hebrews 2:5, though some translations make them the same in the English by saying “the world to come.” Hebrews 2:5 speaks of the inhabited world; here it is speaking of a cycle of time, and thus an age. In the end, they both look forward to the same thing: a taste of which was given to the Hebrews at Pentecost, and which will also be the case after the rapture of the church, and during and after the tribulation period. There will be notable gifts of the Spirit then as there was at the beginning.

Charles Ellicott states, they “were as truly anticipations of a future age of glory as was the ‘heavenly gift’ an anticipation of the ‘heavenly fatherland.’” These Hebrews had experienced these “powers of the age to come.” These powers most especially indicate the promised time when Jesus will return to rule the nations and “He will rule them with an iron scepter…” (Revelation 2:27).

The Jewish people had seen or heard of this power demonstrated in the resurrection – the very proof that Jesus is God. These points would have been made known to those who received this letter – that Jesus both fulfilled the role of Messiah and would return again in that capacity at some point in the future. To have an understanding of these wonderful tenets and then to reject them for an inferior system would not only make no sense, but it would also show a complete lack of faith in God’s provision which came in the Person and work of Jesus.

Life application: What proofs would make you believe the good news of Jesus Christ? Paul says in 1 Corinthians that “Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness.” The Jews were given many signs, and the Bible is filled with wisdom for anyone who is willing to search it out. However, of all of the documented signs, and of all of the wisdom found there, the reader is still left with one tenet which cannot be done without. That tenet is faith. The reader, or hearer, of the Bible must come to God in faith. Have you simply trusted the word of God and, by faith, received Jesus? This is what God would ask of you. Have faith, believe, and be saved!

Glorious God Almighty, it is remarkable that Jesus claims to be the only way to be reconciled to You. But what is even more incredible is that You have allowed any way at all to be reconciled to You. How marvelous is Your gift of Jesus Christ our Lord. Praise be to You in the highest, O God, for our Lord Jesus. Amen.

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