Response To Hebrews 10:29-31

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that has said, Vengeance belongs to me, I will recompense, said the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 

AKJV (American King James Version)

29 Of how much worse punishment, are you supposing, will he be counted worthy who tramples on the Son of God, and deems the blood of the covenant by which he is hallowed contaminating, and outrages the spirit of grace? 30 For we are acquainted with Him Who is saying, Mine is vengeance! I will repay! the Lord is saying, and again, "The Lord will be judging His people" 31 Fearful is it to be falling into the hands of the living God!

CLV (Concordant Literal Version)

 29 of how much sorer punishment shall he be counted worthy who the Son of God did trample on, and the blood of the covenant did count a common thing, in which he was sanctified, and to the Spirit of the grace did despite? 30 for we have known Him who is saying, `Vengeance is Mine, I will recompense, saith the Lord;' and again, `The Lord shall judge His people;' — 31 fearful is the falling into the hands of a living God. 

YLT (Young's Literal Translation)

29 By how much worse punishment (= heavier the sentence) do you suppose he will be thought worthy and counted deserving: the one trampling down the Son of God, and considering the blood of the arrangement (or: covenant) common (= profane) – within which he was set-apart (made sacred and holy) – even insulting the Breath-effect of joyous favor (or: Spirit of Grace)? 30 For we have perceived, and thus know, the One saying, "Execution of right in fairness out of the Way pointed out [is] by Me. I will continue giving back(repay) in its place," says the Lord [= Yahweh], and again, "The Lord [= Yahweh] will continue separating and making a decision about (or: judging) His people." [Ex. 32:35-36] [comment: this paragraph, and its judgments, pertains to God's people] 31 [It is] fearful (a fear-inspiring [experience]) to suddenly fall-in – into hands of a continuously living God!

JMNT (Jonathan Mitchell New Testament)

 

29 What about those who despise the Son of God? Those who treat as a cheap thing the blood of God’s covenant that purified them from sin? Those who insult the Spirit of grace? Think how much worse the punishment they deserve will be! 30 We know who said: »Vengeance is mine; I will repay«; and who also said, »Jehovah will judge his people.« (Deuteronomy 32:35) 31 It is a dreadful (terrible) thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

NSB (New Simplified Bible)

Points to consider . . . 

  1. The author is most likely Paul or Apollos, but the author of this book has been a mystery since the 2nd century. The author knew very well that the Hebrews, to whom he was addressing, were fond of the Levitical dispensation. It seems that his goal is to wean the Hebrew leadership from their traditional views while he raises and exalts the priesthood of Christ.  

  2. The position that the intended audience is to find themselves is that they are now in a very dignified state because of Christ’s work and this new status calls them to suitable duties, lifestyles and a new outlook.

  3. This passage has been understood over the years to be addressing two distinct “sins.” A. The sin of willful sin, in other words, taking action that is rebellious or sinful when it is know that the act is wrong or against God. B. The sin of apostasy, which would be a rejection of Christ after taking a stand or belief in the truth of His grace. To take an obstinate stand against the message of Christ and the apostles.  

  4. Numbers 15:30, 31 is the Levitical reference cited here: “ ‘But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or foreigner, blasphemes the LORD and must be cut off from the people of Israel. Because they have despised the LORD’s word and broken his commands, they must surely be cut off; their guilt remains on them.’ ”

  5. One traditional view of this passage reads like this: "There were some sins under the law for which no sacrifices were provided; but yet if those who committed them did truly repent, though they might not escape temporal death, they might escape eternal hell; for Christ would come, and make atonement. But now those under the gospel who will not accept Christ, that they may be saved by him, have no other refuge left to them.”

  6. The severity of punishment mentioned in verse 29 is not declared. The author is asking a question to his readers. So the punishment is unknown and it is certainly conjecture to assume this is post mortem punishment or worse, eternal conscious torment in “hell.” 

  7. Some think this refers to the specific dreadful destruction of the Jewish society in 67-70 A.D. and others are of the opinion that this refers to a universal statement of suffering that is brought about in this lifetime.

  8. It’s interesting to note that the author is quoting part of Deuteronomy 32:35,36 - Vengeance is Mine; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; for their day of disaster is near, and their doom is coming quickly. For the LORD will judge His people and have compassion on His servants when He sees that their strength is gone and no one remains, slave or free. 

  9. This passage in Deuteronomy is followed with a statement of the Lord’s compassion. This is a much overlooked aspect of Hebrews 10:30.

  10. In verse 31, we read that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Strong’s G5401 gives us some insight into the term “fearful thing” = inspiring fear, terrible, and formidable.

  11. The author of this passage mentions soon afterwards in Hebrews 12:5, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. For the Lord disciplines him who he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 

  12. We should ask, “If the Lord (the same Lord whom the writer states that it is a fearful thing to fall into His hands) disciplines those He loves, would it not be true that those mentioned in 10:29 are loved? 

  13. The words “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord” can be taken, and perhaps should be taken, as a declaration that discipline is not something we should be concerned with, nor consider it as a situation with fearful consequences. This is a matter our sovereign and loving God will handle, not us. In other words, "Relax, I've got this!" says the Lord. 

  14. “ . . . I will repay, says the Lord” - He will restore, as only He can do, for what we have lost by the evil in this world. And to add icing on the cake, for sinners (which includes us all), “I will repay”  Jim Strahan adds, "He will repay the debt of our sins for which we are unable to pay. In the long run, He’s got us covered on both ends of the law – what a great Father!"  

  15. Jonathan Mitchell had this observation about vs. 31.”Suddenly falling-in is a scary, fear-inspiring experience. When someone falls through a roof, through the ice on a lake, or into a pit, it will always be accompanied with fear – even from its mere suddenness.  Falling into God's hands is fearful because we do not know what this experience will entail. Chronic illness suddenly appearing; the sudden loss of our means of income; the end of a close relationship; the outbreak of war; the devastation of an earthquake, a tsunami, a flood, a tornado, a volcanic eruption – all these are fearful experiences. But in all these we should realize that we have fallen into His hands. And we should realize that this is just our initial emotion. What accompanies our landing in His hands in a new experience is the presence of His love within this new context. And His love will cast out all of our fear – because we can trust the One who made the Promises: He is Faithful, Trustworthy and Loyal.”

  16. In light of the broader context of scripture (particularly an extensive awareness of Paul’s discourse) it would be an extremely dubious assumption to state that this passage supports the notion that God sends anyone into eternal torment, hell, complete destruction or outer darkness. 

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