In his letter to the Hebrew (Israelite) Christians in the New Covenant/Testament Church the Apostle Paul at once characterized the spiritual status of both the early church and the current Catholic/Protestant church. Some 40 years later Jesus Christ would issue the same warning to the end-time church as recorded in Revelation 3:14-17. By comparing the writings of the apostles to the church in their day to Jesus’ letter to the modern (Laodicean) church of our day reveals that the church has evolved from bad to worse. Fortunately, God has always had a contingent of true believers–His “little flock,” His “Very Elect,” His “remnant”–who have clung to Him by obeying His Holy Scriptures. Those tiny few make up His true church today (Mat. 7:13,14).
Beginning with Hebrews 5:12 and ending with 6:6 we find the apostle reminding his fellow Israelites of their spiritual ancestry, how they had been chosen to be God’s people which He raised up to take His gospel to the Gentile world. Tiny in size relative to that world, the Israelites were to take His “light” (gospel) to the heathen, thereby giving them the opportunity to partake of their (Israel’s) promised inheritance–eternal life. In the focal passage (5:12-6:6) Paul reminds the converted Israelites that, because their ancestors had been given God’s Law of Life on Mt. Sinai, they had no excuse for the Scriptural ignorance and immaturity they were displaying. Let us pick up the narrative at 5:10 and allow God’s Word to speak to all of us in that we all need to be reminded of who and what we were created to be. It is only through the STUDY of the Scriptures that we can learn what God commands of His converts. These are His NEW CREATION IN WHICH “OLD THINGS HAVE PASSED AWAY, BEHOLD ALL THINGS ARE MADE NEW.” We all need to be reminded that every aspect of OUR OLD RELIGIOUS WAYS MUST BE PUT TO DEATH FOR THEY GENERATE DEATH. It is for this reason that God commands us to “Come out of her (Catholicism/Protestantism) and be ye separate, touch not that unclean thing” (1 Cor. 6:14-18). Why? Because God’s people have nothing in common with Satan’s people on the spiritual level. Jesus came with the “sword of the Spirit–the Holy Bible” to set His people against Satan’s people, some of whom are the members of our own family (Eph. 6:17/ Rev. 1:16/ Mat. 10:34-39). Let us begin to embrace the Lord’s message to the true God seekers living in the final days of this age, those “upon whom the ends of the world have come” (1 Cor. 10:11)
In 5:10,11 Paul reminds the Hebrew Christians of who Jesus was and that they needed to be taught about him–again. However, this was going to be a problem because they HAD BECOME spiritually “dull of hearing.” In verse 12 he tells them that they had possessed the Scriptures for many generations and should be teaching God’s “strong meat”–the finer points of God’s message–to the Gentiles in the church. Instead, they themselves needed to be taught “the first principles of the oracles of God” which he calls “milk.” Evidently many, perhaps most people in the church at that time (68 A.D.) had become complacent in their battle with Satan and had been seduced into following his false prophets back to the Pablum level (Mat. 7:13,14). In his letter to the church at Rome some 10 years earlier Paul had warned those parishioners about their milk-meat situation, particularly the pastor. In 3:3 he had made a very important point that is religiously rejected by professing Christendom. Relative to what is necessary for salvation, the Jews had a distinct advantage “in every way” in that THEY ALREADY HAD THE LAW (“ORACLES OF GOD”) and therefore did not need to be taught it as did the Gentiles. Five years earlier Paul had warned the churches of Galatia about ignoring the Law/gospel (1:6-9). Obviously, Satan was going all out to remove the Ten Commandments from the lives of church people. Nothing has changed.
In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul was repeating himself–again. Ironically, God’s true ministers find ourselves delivering that same message to today’s version of the church. Unfortunately, we get what I call the “Stephen reaction.” Fortunately it does not include death by stoning. That is prophesied to change.
In his letter to the church at Rome (as well as to the Galatians and the Hebrews) Paul stressed the fact that by breaking the Law (sinning–1 Jn. 3:4) they were “treasuring (storing) up to yourselves God’s wrath” that God would pour out on them on “the day of wrath.” In 2:8,9 he warns that His wrath would cause indignation, tribulation and anguish for Christian Law breakers, self-described as “Sinners Saved By Grace.” In verse 13 he reminds them that it is the doers (obeyers) of the Law who are justified before God, not the hearers (all church members). Churchites today refuse to even hear it. Both the Gentiles (spiritual Israelites) in the church at Rome and the Hebrews had heard (received) the Law. However, neither of them were obeying it. Paul and the other apostles, knowing that salvation is based on obedience to God’s Law, used much ink and expended much time and energy warning the churches about Satan’s attempt to draw them away from God’s Standard. Sinners (Law-breakers) who are supposedly saved by grace have accused the Author of that Law of nailing it to the cross. This tells us all we need to know about the church’s standing with God. Which is why I continually warn those with ears to hear God’s Truth about the church’s deadly problem.
In Hebrews 5:13,14 Paul tells the church that, after hearing, believing and obeying God’s “strong meat” for a season they had followed their false prophets back to their mother’s “breast.” In fact, he tells them, they had digressed even farther than that from God. So far away that they were now in need of her milk which is designed to start the convert on the path to RIGHTEOUSNESS (absence of sin). Paul called these milk-needers spiritual babies who could not distinguish between good and evil. The Scriptures tell us that good=obeying the Law and evil=disobeying the Law. The need for “strong meat” is universal within the church. Let us revisit God’s rules for finding His “strong meat,” studying, believing and obeying it as recorded in Isaiah 28:9,10: “Whom can He (God) teach KNOWLEDGE? and whom can He make to UNDERSTAND HIS DOCTRINES? they that are WEANED FROM THE MILK AND REMOVED FROM THE BREASTS.” These are mature Christians who obey Isaiah’s rules for studying God’s Word. Isaiah’s message to us is that all spiritual knowledge and understanding comes from GOD’S WORD, and that only mature people will make the effort to learn, believe and obey His Truth–Word (Jn. 17:17). Milk babies see no need to either study, learn, believe and obey His Word or listen to anyone who does. There is simply too much good t.v. available to sacrifice any of it for the study God’s Truth. Even reruns beat out the Lord for the supposedly saved. L.J.