“Concerning Him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.”
Now the writer of Hebrews pauses for a few verses to demonstrate the fact that these believers in Jerusalem are in a state of reversionism.
Much to say uses the Greek word“lego” for say, which describes what the pastor does: the teaching of doctrine (concerning Him). The writer was a pastor who was doing the teaching here and there was a lot of doctrine that needed to be taught. Hard to explain comes from the Greek word “dusermeneutos” meaning difficult to teach. Advanced doctrine is difficult to teach and the doctrine of the priesthood of Christ and believers is advanced doctrine. In the Jerusalem church there was a lack of interest in learning doctrine on the part of many and therefore a lack of spiritual growth. Advanced Bible doctrine is difficult to teach to anyone, but impossible to teach to a reversionist. The doctrines relating to the prophets, the angels and the Royal Priesthood which he had been teaching are advanced doctrines. Before advanced doctrine can be understood there must be a frame of reference in the soul. The reversionist not only lacks a frame of reference but he has also lost whatever he originally learned for the most part and is totally handicapped in his attempt to understand spiritual things.
These Jews apparently had learned some doctrine in the past but had drifted back into Judaism. Dull is the Greek word “noqros,” which means apathy as well as dullness. They were apathetic toward God and His Word. And, because they were not listening to Bible doctrine and advancing spiritually, they were easy prey for the Judaizers.
“For by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”
Any spiritually mature believer should be able to communicate divine viewpoint from the doctrine in their soul. The word teachers means communicators. The word can be used for a pastor-teacher but in this context it is used for the entire priesthood. It means communicators of divine viewpoint. You cannot communicate doctrine if you have not consistently learned and applied it, which was not the case for many of these believers. These believers in Jerusalem were three years from a great national disaster which would destroy their nation and they needed to be spiritually mature to survive it. These reversionists had to relearn Bible doctrine before they could communicate divine viewpoint in time of national crisis to themselves or others. They were dull of hearing and apathetic toward learning Bible doctrine. These believers in Jerusalem needed to be taught again from the beginning the basic doctrines of Christ, i.e. salvation, eternal life, grace, etc. The oracles of God is a reference to God’s Word, Bible doctrine.
Since the believers in Jerusalem went into reversionism, they had to go back to what this writer calls milk. The word for milk is the Greek word “gala,” which is used for very simple, elementary food source. It is a reference to the basic doctrines which begin the recovery process from reversionism. Milk was contrasted to solid food which the writer says they can no longer handle. The Greek word for solid is “stereos” which means strong, firm or established. Solid food means food eaten by adults. Milk is therefore analogous to the basic doctrines of Scripture, whereas solid food is analogous to the advanced doctrines of Scripture.
“For everyone who partakes of only milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
Reversionism had reached a new peak in Jerusalem. The reversionist did not care for solid food; he could not handle advanced doctrine. The reversionistic believer is immature and like all immature people, whether in the spiritual realm or in the human realm, they demand the superficial, they cannot take anything with substance.
The word of righteousness refers to the advanced doctrines of the Word of God which require spiritual I.Q. in order to learn and assimilate as a complete system of theology. The word babe is simply a reference to spiritual immaturity. Apparently these believers in Jerusalem had been taught doctrine for a long period of time but had allowed themselves to be persuaded by the Judaizers to start the practice of the rituals of the Mosaic Law once again.
Instead of practicing the Law, these believers needed to be practicing or training themselves in the proper application of Bible doctrine. Mature people, humanly speaking, have great self-discipline; immature people do not have self-discipline. Practicing or using what you learn takes a great deal of self-discipline.
If you are a mature person when you accept Christ as Savior you probably already have the ability to concentrate. Your maturity plus the filling of the Holy Spirit causes you to concentrate to an even greater degree and in the intensity of your concentration you are able to acquire more information much more quickly than the one who is immature. Training yourself to be able to discern the accurate doctrine from the false doctrine is a matter of consistently learning and applying Bible doctrine. So how do you tell who is teaching false doctrine?
Definition: Biblical apostasy is defined as a believer or unbeliever who deliberately rejects or distorts the revealed truth of the Word of God. Biblical heresy is defined as a believer or an unbeliever who rejects or distorts the truth of the Word of God as a result of being deceived by Satan or his ministers. Antichrist is defined as anyone who assumes the identity of Christ or opposes Christ. The spirit of antichrist is, therefore, anyone who lines up in opposition to Christ. Some people err from the truth due to ignorance, which is not an excuse. (Galatians 1:6-9; II Peter 2:1-22; Jude 1-25; I Timothy 4:1-16; II Timothy 2:24-26; 3:1-7; 4:1-4; I John 2:18-22; II Thessalonians 2:1-12; Acts 19:1-7)
The first test of apostasy, heresy or the spirit of antichrist is the clarity of the Gospel message. Those who distort the Gospel can be, even without knowing it, apostate, heretical and antichrist. In Galatians chapter one Paul tells us what the fate should be of those who preach a different gospel. He says that they should be accursed, which means to be destroyed. Paul is not saying that these people should go to Hell. He is using a metaphor that they should be stopped from preaching a false message. The message, of course, is already accursed. The Bible tells us to test the spirits of men. The best test is what they say about salvation and eternal life. (Galatians 1:6-9)
The Gospel is not “turn from sin”, “do penance to atone for your sins”, “make Jesus your Lord, invite Christ into your heart or life”, “commit your life to Christ”, “give your heart or life to Christ”, “repent of your sins” (which they say means to feel sorry for your sins), “be water baptized”, “join a particular denomination” or any other form of human works. Those who preach this are at best ignorant of the truth and at worst apostate. In either case they are enemies of Christ and it would be better for them to be accursed or destroyed. It is a serious matter to God to distort the truth of the Gospel. It would be better for the believer to be destroyed and be taken to Heaven now, rather than to stand before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ and explain to Him why he distorted His Gospel message. (Philippians 3:17-19; Romans 14:10) The Gospel message is faith alone in Christ alone. Faith is non-meritorious; all the merit is in the object of our faith, Jesus Christ.
When a person realizes that they cannot work their way to Heaven by good deeds and they change their minds (the true meaning of repentance) about Christ and by faith accept His death on the Cross as the payment for their sin, God gives that person the gift of eternal life (salvation). (John 3:16,17,18,36; 6:47; II Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:8; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; I John 5:13)
The second test of apostasy, heresy, or the spirit of antichrist is the doctrinal accuracy of the message. This is where it takes a greater amount of doctrine in the soul to discern the false from the true. Only through spiritual growth can a believer avoid being deceived by these false teachers. There are some obvious signs that a preacher or teacher is presenting false doctrine. For example, the motive of most false teachers is to seek fortune, fame and power. There are some ministers, however, who appear to be sincere and appear to have correct motives, but have allowed themselves to be deceived. Both are still teaching false doctrine and are enemies of the Cross of Christ. (II Timothy 2:25-26; II Timothy 3:1-7)
We must keep in mind that Satan and his ministers of darkness present themselves as ministers of righteousness and angels of light, but are instead “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” One of Satan’s greatest counterfeits to the truth is emotion. Though emotion is a wonderful gift from God, the misuse of emotion leads to all kind of false teachings. The most obvious one is displayed by the Charismatics or Pentecostals. They replace the true ministries of the Holy Spirit with emotional experience. As we have studied, the ministries of God the Holy Spirit are not seen or felt, they are simply facts stated in God’s Word for us to believe. (II Corinthians 11:13-15; Romans 16:18)
Though these false teachers often use Biblical phrases, passages and Christian-sounding words, they distort the truth by taking passages out of context, ignoring dispensational truth or in some cases changing the meaning of God’s Word to fit their particular teaching. In some instances they even accidentally present truth. Satan is the great counterfeiter. Therefore, what his ministers teach is mixed with a small amount of truth in order to look like the real thing. Beware… you must always evaluate the message in light of the truth of God’s Word. (II Peter 2:1-22)
A primary distortion that we see today is the misapplication of spiritual gifts. We have studied spiritual gifts in the past and you will recall that certain of these gifts were temporary. When these temporary gifts are being taught as relative for today, we have false teaching. The reason that God gave these temporary gifts in the first century was for evangelism, to confirm their divine authority for the formation of the early church, to detect heresy in the early church, to confirm the truth of the Gospel and to teach doctrine not yet a part of the Canon of Scripture. Remember, they did not have the completed Canon of Scripture as we do today. God’s Word is very clear and it should be obvious to an advancing believer, that those who “use” these temporary gifts have rejected truth. It must be pointed out, that if a person has the will or the desire to know doctrinal truth, God will provide it. Therefore, if a person does not have doctrinal truth, it stands to reason that they do not want it. (I Corinthians 2:9-12, 13:8-10; Mark 16:20; Jeremiah 29:13; John 7:17, 14:26, 16:13; Acts 17:27; Romans 1:18-25; II Peter 3:9)