Hebrews 10:27
But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
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(27) But a certain fearful looking for.—Better, But a fearful awaiting of judgment, and a jealousy of fire that shall devour the adversaries. For Christ’s “waiting” servants the thought of “judgment” is lost in that of “salvation” (Hebrews 9:27-28); to these sinners nothing is left but the awaiting of judgment. The next words are a partial quotation, or an adaptation, of Isaiah 26:11 : “Let them see (and be ashamed) the zeal for the people; yea, fire shall devour Thine adversaries.” (The Greek translation gives the second clause correctly, but not the former part of the sentence.) In the prophetic imagery of the Old Testament the destruction of the enemies of Jehovah is but the other aspect of His zeal or jealousy for His people. This imagery was familiar to every Hebrew; and no words could show more powerfully than these that to forsake Christ for Judaism was (not to join, but) to abandon “the people of God.” For such apostates there remaineth the zeal, the jealous wrath, of a devouring fire. (Comp. Hebrews 12:29; Malachi 4)

10:26-31 The exhortations against apostacy and to perseverance, are urged by many strong reasons. The sin here mentioned is a total and final falling away, when men, with a full and fixed will and resolution, despise and reject Christ, the only Saviour; despise and resist the Spirit, the only Sanctifier; and despise and renounce the gospel, the only way of salvation, and the words of eternal life. Of this destruction God gives some notorious sinners, while on earth, a fearful foreboding in their consciences, with despair of being able to endure or to escape it. But what punishment can be sorer than to die without mercy? We answer, to die by mercy, by the mercy and grace which they have despised. How dreadful is the case, when not only the justice of God, but his abused grace and mercy call for vengeance! All this does not in the least mean that any souls who sorrow for sin will be shut out from mercy, or that any will be refused the benefit of Christ's sacrifice, who are willing to accept these blessings. Him that cometh unto Christ, he will in no wise cast out.But a certain fearful looking for of judgment - The word "certain" here does not mean "fixed, sure, inevitable," as our translation would seem to imply. The Greek is the same as "a (τις tis) fearful expectation," etc. So it is rendered by Tyndale. The idea is, that if there was voluntary apostasy after having embraced the Christian religion, there could be nothing but an expectation of the judgment to come. There could be no other hope but that through the gospel, and as this would have been renounced, it would follow that the soul must perish. The "fearful apprehension" or expectation here does not refer so much to what would be in the mind itself, or what would be experienced, as to what must follow. It might be that the person referred to would have no realizing sense of all this, and still his situation be that of one who had nothing to expect but the terrors of the judgment to come.

And fiery indignation - Fire is often used in the Scriptures as an emblem of fierce punishment. The idea is, that the person referred to could expect nothing but the wrath of God.

Which shall devour the adversaries - All who become the adversaries or enemies of the Lord. Fire is often said to devour, or consume, and the meaning here is, that those who should thus become the enemies of the Lord must perish.

27. a certain—an extraordinary and indescribable. The indefiniteness, as of something peculiar of its kind, makes the description the more terrible (compare Greek, Jas 1:18).

looking for—"expectation": a later sense of the Greek. Alford strangely translates, as the Greek usually means elsewhere, "reception." The transition is easy from "giving a reception to" something or someone, to "looking for." Contrast the "expecting" (the very same Greek as here), Heb 10:13, which refutes Alford.

fiery indignation—literally, "zeal of fire." Fire is personified: glow or ardor of fire, that is, of Him who is "a consuming fire."


But a certain fearful looking for of judgment: But, is introducing the terrible evil asserted to be expected when sacrifice cannot hetp such sinners, especial and certain, terrible and dreadful (such as fills the soul with fears and horrors) expectation of judgment by their awakened consciences, not knowing how soon it may come; as a malefactor under sentence, in daily expectation of execution, how doth he suffer it over and over! So will this worm gnaw them: to which is synonymous, Mark 9:44. How must the execution of the sentence of the just Judge terrify them!

And fiery indignation; when it must be by burning, or heat of fire; wrath of fire proceeding from an injured and wronged God, Ezekiel 36:5 38:19 Zephaniah 1:18 3:8. As in execution of just vengeance, which like fire devours and eateth them up, not putting an end to their being by consumption, but perpetual piercing, searching, torturing, and this for eternity.

Which shall devour the adversaries; these underhand adversaries, utenantiouv, who are the most bitter enemies of Christ and his church, because secret ones, and seem to be by profession otherwise, Matthew 25:41 Mark 9:43,44 2 Thessalonians 1:8,9. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment,.... Either of some outward visible judgment in this life, which sometimes falls on such persons; or of the particular judgment which immediately follows after death; or of the universal judgment, after the resurrection, and the dreadful sentence of condemnation which will then pass, and be immediately executed; and which will be done by Christ, and according to truth, and in strict justice; it is certain, and there will be no escaping it, for it will be general. Now there is in this life an expectation in men of a future judgment, and in wicked men it is a fearful one; it is dreaded by them, and more especially in such men before described, when their consciences are awakened; it is a very dreadful one, inexpressibly so:

and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries; which is to be understood, not of the fire of purgatory, for this is after judgment, that is pretended to be before it; this devours, that only purges, according to the Papists; this is for adversaries, that, as is supposed, is for friends: but perhaps some fiery judgment, expressive of the wrath and indignation of God, such as befell Sodom and Gomorrah, the two sons of Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and the men that rose up with Korah against Moses and Aaron: or rather the fire of hell, which is not corporeal and material, but is the wrath of God let down into the conscience; which shows the vile nature of sin, the strictness of God's justice, and the intolerableness of future punishment: and this is said to "devour the adversaries"; not only open ones, but secret, underhanded enemies, as the word here signifies; as such apostates are, before described, to God, and Christ, and the Spirit; to the Gospel, its doctrine, discipline, and ordinances; and to the children of God, and to the power of godliness in them: and with the fire of God's wrath they shall be devoured; not so as to be annihilated, but shall be eternally destroyed, both soul and body; that is, everlastingly punished, or punished with everlasting destruction.

But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the {n} adversaries.

(n) For it is another matter to sin through the frailty of man's nature, and another thing to proclaim war on God as on an enemy.

Hebrews 10:27. Φοβερὰ δέ τις ἐκδοχὴ κρίσεως] sc. ἀπολείπεται: but there remains indeed, etc. The ἀπολειπόμενον is of two kinds, something subjective (φοβερὰκρίσεως) and something objective (πυρὸςὑπεναντίους).

φοβερὰ ἐκδοχὴ κρίσεως] denotes not “a terrible banquet of judgment,” as Ewald strangely translates it, nor is it any hypallage in the sense of ἐκδοχὴ κρίσεως φοβερᾶς, as Jac. Cappellus, Heinrichs, and Stengel suppose, and to which the choice is left open by Wolf. The terribleness is transferred to the subjective domain of the expectation. For one who has sinned against better light and knowledge, even the expectation of the divine judgment is something terrible.

φοβερά τις] an exceedingly terrible one. On the τις, added with rhetorical emphasis to adjectives of quality or quantity, comp. Kühner, II. p. 331; Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 160.

κρίσις] is used here, too, as Hebrews 9:27, quite without restriction, of the divine judgment in general. That this will be a punitive judgment is not indicated by the word; it only follows from the connection.

In the second member the emphasis rests upon the preposed πυρός, on which account also the case of the following participle conforms itself to this, not to ζῆλος. We cannot, therefore, with Luther and others, combine together πυρὸς ζῆλος in a single notion (“fiery zeal,” sc. of the divine wrath). The πῦρ is personified, and in such way a ζῆλος, a fury, ascribed to the same. There was probably present to the mind of the author in connection with the last member, LXX. Isaiah 26:11 : ζῆλος λήψεται λαὸν ἀπαίδευτον καὶ νῦν πῦρ τοὺς ὑπεναντίους ἔδεται.

τοὺς ὑπεναντίους] the adversaries. The empiric usage of the term forbids our attaching to it, with Braun and Paulus, on account of the ὑπό, the notion of secret foes. See Meyer on Col. ii.14, 4 Aufl. p. 331.27. but a certain fearful looking for of judgment …] All that is left for willing apostates when they have turned their backs on the sole means of grace is “some fearful expectance of a judgment.” They are “heaping up to themselves wrath against the day of wrath” (Romans 2:5).

and fiery indignation] Lit., “and a jealousy of fire.” He is thinking of God “as a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29) and of the question “Shall thy jealousy burn like fire?” Psalm 79:5 (comp. Ezekiel 35:5).

which shall devour the adversaries] “Yea let fire devour thine enemies” (Isaiah 26:11). It has so long been the custom to interpret such passages of “eternal torments” that we lose sight of the fact that such a meaning, if we may interpret Scripture historically, was in most cases not consciously present to the mind of the writers. The constant repetition of the same metaphor by the Prophets with no reference except to temporal calamities and the overthrow of cities and nations made it familiar in this sense to the N.T. writers. By “the adversaries” here are not meant “sinners,” but impenitent Jews and wilful apostates who would perish in the Day of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 1:8). It is at least doubtful whether the writer meant to imply anything beyond that prophecy of doom to the heirs of the Old Covenant which was fulfilled a few years later when the fire of God’s wrath consumed the whole system of a Judaism which had rejected its own Messiah. The word for “adversaries” only occurs in the N.T. in Colossians 2:14.Hebrews 10:27. Φοβερὰ, fearful) A very bad hope.—ἐκδοχὴ, looking for) quite different from what is described, Hebrews 10:13.—πυρὸςτοὺς ὑπεναντίους) Isaiah 64:1 (rather 2), LXX., κατακαύσει πὺρ ὑπεναντίους, fire will consume the adversaries. We must not seek any particular meaning in ὑπὸ, under, [as if the meaning were, underhand enemies]: in Exodus 15:7, ὑπεναντίοι is applied to the most open enemies.—πυρὸς, of fire) Deuteronomy 32:22; comp. Psalm 106:18.—ζῆλος, zeal) indignation, Deuteronomy 29:20.—ἐσθίειν, to devour) ch. Hebrews 12:29; Isaiah 26:11.But a certain fearful looking for (φοβερὰ δέ τις ἐκδοχὴ)

Rend. "a kind of fearful expectation." Ἐκδοχὴ N.T.o, olxx.

Fiery indignation (πυρὸς ζῆλος)

For ζῆλος see on James 3:14. The radical idea of the word is ferment of spirit (ζεῖν to boil; see Acts 18:25; Romans 12:11). This idea takes on different aspects in ζῆλος, as indignation, Acts 5:17; zeal, John 2:17; Romans 10:2; 2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Philippians 3:6; envy, Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3; Galatians 5:20. In the last sense often with ἔπις strife. The phrase fiery indignation, lit. indignation of fire (N.T.o) is an adaptation from Isaiah 26:11.

The adversaries (τοὺς ὑπεναντίους)

Only here and Colossians 2:14. Often in lxx.

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