Dr. Couch, I understand that some of the best Greek teachers along with yourself hold that the Jews in the book of Hebrews had not accepted Christ as their Savior. They were "hearers" but they had not believed in Him as their Lord as required for salvation. I have felt the same thing as I have read Hebrews. Is this correct?
ANSWER: Yes, you are right. The great Dr. Kenneth Wuest who taught at Moody, and who was one of the best Greek professors of the last century held to this position. As you know, I taught at Moody and was influenced by his spirituality and scholarship. He wrote:
"These Jews had allowed the Holy Spirit to carry them along to the place of repentance. Now … if they should refuse the faith by which they could lay hold of the High Priest as their Savior, and return to the abrogated sacrifices of the First Testament (the animal sacrifices), it would be impossible to bring them back to the act of repentance again. … They refused the light and turned back into the darkness of sin and continued unbelief, so these Hebrews were in danger of doing a like thing. These Jews were like the Hebrew spies at Kadesh-Barnea who saw the land and had the very fruit in their hands, and yet turned back (4:1-13). They were like many sinners who heard the message and then said "The world is too much with us," and then turned back into sin.
They were partakers of the Holy Spirit but this does not mean they were possessors! The Spirit had led them into the act of repentance. The next step would be that of faith. But here they were in danger of turning their backs upon the Spirit and returning again to the sacrifices. They had been led into repentance. Now should they fall away from their profession of faith in the Messiah and back to the sacrifices, it would be impossible to renew them to repentance (6:6-8). The apostle warned these unsaved Hebrews from making such a thing a reality.
Before I had read Wuest's comments I had already come to the position that these Jews were not saved but only professors who had not truly trusted in Christ as Savior! I am very surprised at believers who do not study carefully the Word of God! They are just copy-kats who simply quote what others have said.
Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)