“Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.”
In this verse unbelief is not rejection of Christ as Savior. It is instead rejection of Bible doctrine by a reversionist. It is the failure of the believer under reversionism to claim Bible promises or apply doctrine.
Reversionism is further described as withdrawal from God on the part of the believer. Falling away from the living God means to revolt against God. Just as reversionism kept the Exodus generation out of the land of Canaan, even so reversionism, which is revolting against God, keeps a believer from erecting an edification complex and reaching spiritual maturity.
God’s promise for Israel was the land of Canaan, but the Exodus generation was in reversionism and could not claim the promises of God or apply Bible doctrine. Therefore they were not allowed to enter the Promised Land. They had no capacity to receive this particular blessing from God and eventually died the sin unto death.
“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest anyone of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
“Keep on encouraging self and others on each successive day” is what this verse means. This is a command, an order to every believer-priest. How do you do it? No matter what happens on any particular day, no matter what conflicts exist, encouragement can come from positive volition toward and recall of Bible doctrine. It is the encouragement of self. No matter how bad you feel, positive volition toward doctrine will encourage you. And the overflow of your grace capacity toward others will be an encouragement to them. The principle is that every believer is going to live one day at a time, and on every day just as you need physical food, you also need spiritual food. Feeding your soul with doctrine can result only in an overflow to those around you. When you get you mind off of your problems and woes and on being an encourager, you will be amazed at how God will use you to glorify Him every day!
Lest means to beware of reversionism. When a believer is negative toward or neglects doctrine it eventuates in scar tissue of the soul, and the accumulation of scar tissue opens up a vacuum and through this vacuum comes satanic doctrine into a believer’s soul. It comes into his frame of reference, clutters up his memory center, enters into his vocabulary, works into his categories and destroys categorical teaching, changes his norms and standards to comply with Satan’s cosmic system, and operates on human viewpoint. This causes him to make a frantic search for happiness and leads to emotional revolt of the soul and the practice of reversionism. And it is destructive to the believer.
The Greek word for hardened is “skleruno,” which means scar tissue. Negative volition toward doctrine or daily neglect of doctrine on the part of the believer-priest eventually builds scar tissue of the soul. The Greek word for deceitfulness is “apate,” which means delusion. This is the same concept as “strong delusion” in II Thessalonians 2:11. It is a reference to reversionism. Delusion from the sin nature is a part of reversionism. Personal sin produced from the sin nature deceives in many ways and in many areas of life. Controlling our sin nature by Rebound and the filling of the Holy Spirit prevents reversionism.
“For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end; while it is said, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me.’”
Partakers mean fellows or partners. Since you cannot be partakers of Christ without knowing Him personally as Savior, it is first of all a word in Greek that denotes those who share in a heavenly calling or regal position (a reference to our membership in the Royal Family of God). Second, it is a word that in this context refers to our function in the family of God (our execution of the Christian Way of Life). In other words this verse refers to “working out” the salvation that already resides in you. (Philippians 2:12-13)
Hold fast means to retain and secure possession of something, mentally. Assurance means full confidence. Firm means stabilized. Until the end means until the end of your life on this earth. Therefore, we are partners with Christ by the daily intake and application of Bible doctrine, which means we are “working out” our salvation. This way of life brings confidence and a stable metal attitude. Stability means single-minded; the mind which is occupied with (concentrating on) Jesus Christ. And how long should we continue to do this? Until we depart this life is the answer.
While it is said is a Greek idiom that is used to apply something in the past to the present. Something in the past was the failure of the Exodus generation; something in the present was the failure of the generation of Jews in 67 AD. Today means not to delay; get back in fellowship and recover from reversionism before it’s too late.
Do not harden your hearts is a reference to reversionism. What is reversionism? Reversionism starts with negative volition and reverses the process of God’s plan and God’s objective for every life. Reversionism is negative volition toward and neglect of Bible doctrine, negative volition builds scar tissue on the soul opening up a vacuum and allowing satanic doctrine to flow in. Satanic doctrine crowds out Bible doctrine with human viewpoint thinking. This was the history of the Exodus generation and the Exodus generation is used as an illustration of why believers fail to use their priesthood in the Church Age. Every believer is a priest, and that is what Hebrews is all about. The objective of Hebrews is to get believers into the sphere of occupation with Christ. The objective of the priesthood of the believer is for the daily function of intake and application of doctrine eventuating in spiritual maturity. But you and I are going to fail as the Exodus generation failed if we turn negative toward or neglect Bible doctrine. Bible doctrine is the spiritual food whereby believers enter into spiritual maturity, become occupied with the Person of Christ, and fulfill the purpose for which they remain in this life. The priesthood appointment occurs at salvation but the priesthood does not properly function until a believer reaches some level of spiritual maturity and that is what this passage is all about.
“For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?”
When they had heard indicates the Exodus generation had Bible teaching. The Greek word for heard is “akouo,” which is one of the most common verbs for the function of learning and applying information. For forty years as they travelled through the desert they had constant teaching from Moses, from Aaron, and even from angels. They had phenomenal, excellent Bible teaching. All the Jews of the Exodus generation heard Bible doctrine. Some were positive toward doctrine, like Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Moses’ wife, and Aaron. But the reversionists among them provoked God.
“And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?”
Angry is an antropropathism ascribing to God a characteristic that He does not actually possess. It means that God was disgusted with the Exodus generation and who could blame Him? They were the most ungrateful group of people in biblical history. “Was it not with those who that sinned?” means with the reversionistic believers who habitually rejected doctrine and missed the mark set for them by God. The mark was obedience to the commands and mandates of God.
“And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?”
Enter His rest refers to the land of Canaan (the Promised Land). The Greek word for disobedient is “apeitheo,” which means to not be persuaded, to not believe, to be obstinate, to reject authority or to be a rebel in the soul.
His rest refers to faith-rest which is knowing, believing and applying the promises, the principles and the doctrines of the Word of God. (Isaiah 33:6) There are over 7,000 promises in the Bible for the believer. These promises do us no good unless we mix them with faith and apply them to our situation. (Hebrews 4:2) Claiming these promises eliminates mental attitude sins such as fear, worry and anxiety, which cut off Divine Viewpoint Thinking. Faith-Rest restores Divine Viewpoint Thinking and stabilizes believers in times of pressure and adversity. Faith-Rest results in a relaxed mental attitude (rest). (Matthew 11:28-30)
Daily study of God’s Word keeps Divine Viewpoint Thinking fresh in the mind and helps counteract Human Viewpoint Thinking. (Psalms 119:129-135) Thinking your way through life with Divine Viewpoint Thinking will bring victory, peace, power and stability. (Isaiah 26:3-4, 33:6) It also eliminates mental attitude sinning, such as fear, worry, maligning, character assassination, gossiping, jealousy, self-pity, etc. Vacillating between Divine Viewpoint Thinking and Human Viewpoint Thinking makes a believer unstable according to James 1:8. An unstable believer is an unhappy, confused believer.
“And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.”
So why did this Exodus generation not enter the Promised Land after they wandered in the desert for forty years? Unfaithfulness. Technically, in our language we use the word “unbelief” for those who do not believe in Jesus Christ when the Gospel is presented. And for those believers that reject doctrine we use the word unfaithfulness. The Exodus generation’s problem was not rejection of Christ for salvation; their problem was rejection of the Bible doctrine they had been taught. Moses and Aaron taught them but they didn’t believe what they heard. How do we know this? We know this because of how they reacted to God, His servants and His Word. They were obstinate, rebellious and generally disobedient. Therefore, God disciplined them as a father would discipline any disobedient child. God gave them forty years to recover from reversionism and execute their spiritual lives, but they failed because they were unfaithful. If they had believed Moses and been obedient to God, they could have entered the Promised Land in forty days!