This is the first of five exhortations or warnings included in this book.
This verse and chapter begin with dia touto (dia touto) “therefore” which continues the thought from chapter 1.
This is an exhortation that is connected to:
1) discussion on angels and the fact that they are lesser
2) the mention of salvation
3) the supremacy of Jesus
“pay more careful attention”
dei perissoterwV prosecein hmaV -
it behoves more abundantly to give heed us
1) dei - dei – “it is binding” or “it is necessary”. The word marks this as the logical necessity.
2) perissoterwV - perissoteros – this is a comparative adverb. It means “more abundantly” or “more earnestly”. It can mean here “with extreme care.
3) prosecein - prosechein – A word commonly used of bringing a ship to land. It means “to give heed to” or “to give attention to.” Used other places in the NT.
“drift away” – pararuwmen - “pararuomen” is the aorist passive subjunctive of pararrew which means “to flow”. Subjunctive is the mood of potential. In the passive voice the subject receives the action. The passive here signifies that the person would find themselves in a state of flowing or drifting by. This verb is used in Greek writing with reference to:
1) a river that flows by a place or flows aside from its normal channel like during a flood
2) something slipping from someone’s memory
3) a ring slipping from one’s finger
4) a crumb going down the wrong way
5) a ship drifting away.
Notice here “we” the subject are the ones moving and drifting.
If we drift by this truth there is no other. This is the last stop. This is the last hope.
Not all the seed planted grows and not all that grows reaches maturity.
There is a deadly danger of drifting away from the gospel.
“message spoken by angels” –
1) Galatians 3:19 - Paul
2) Acts 7:53 – Stephen
These New Testament references by Paul and Stephen show the rabbinic tradition that God communicated the Law to Moses with angels.
The closest we can come to an actual OT reference is Deuteronomy 33:2.
1) The Septuagint translates the last clause as: “at his right hand were angels with him.”
Another example would be Psalm 68:17.
An example of angels bringing
the word of God may be in Daniel’s case.
The writer’s concept of angels being at Sinai and even bringing the Law is not contrary to scripture and it is inline with traditions and first century understanding.
“binding” - BebaioV - firm, dependable, reliable, guaranteed.
“violation” - parabasiV - stepping beside, transgression. Would be breaking of the law’s commands. Indicates a rejection of the divine will.
“disobedience” - parakoh - hearing beside, disobedience. Failure to carry out what the law made specific. Also used to identify the rejection of the divine will.
“punishment” - misqapodosian - “misthapodosia” is translated as rewards in 10:35 and 11:26. It means to give back with payment, a paying back, recompense, retribution. The word indicates a full recompense as punishment.
Every law given at Sinai had a matching punishment.
Exodus 21-22 – Laws and their puinishments
Leviticus 10 – Nadab and Abihu
Numbers 15:32-36 – Sabbath-breaker punished
“ignore” – amelhsanteV – “amelasantes” –
1) “to be unconcerned about”,
2) to neglect”,
3) “not to put oneself out”,
4) “to be indifferent to”
5) “to lose interest in”
Interestingly the author does not claim special revelation from God concerning the message of salvation by says he heard it from men. In Galatians 1:12 Paul says from the Lord not from any man or eyewitness.
The question “How shall we escape?” is only answered with the obvious, “We will not.”
Three levels of testimony concerning the message of salvation:
1) The Lord was the one who revealed it.
a. Luke 19:10 – “The Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
b. Matthew 20:28 – “Jesus came “to give his life a ransom for many.”
c. Luke 4:18-21 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me . . . today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
2) It was confirmed by eyewitnesses
a. They testified to the message they heard
b. They testified to the signs they saw
3) Authenticated by God through various signs (also used same 3 in Acts 2:22)
a. Signs – shmeioiV sameiois”
i. John stresses the signs in his gospel
ii. A sign draws attention to a greater spiritual truth
iii. It is not an empty display of power but an attempt to point beyond itself to a greater reality and a greater message.
iv. Eight signs in the gospel of John:
1. Water turned to wine (2:1-10)
2. Healing the nobleman’s son (4:46-54)
3. Healing at the pool of Bethsesda (5:1-9)
4. Feeding 5,000 (6:5-14)
5. Walking on water and calming the sea (6:15-21)
6. Man born blind (9:1-7)
7. Lazarus (11:1-44)
8. Catch of 153 fish (21:1-14)
b. Wonders – terasin “terasin”
i. Mt., Mk., and Lk stress the wonders and miracles
c. Various miracles – poikilaiV dunamesin “poikilais dunamesin”
i. Translated “various powerful deeds”
ii. poikilaiV means “various, variegated, manifold”
iii. dunamiV means “power, miracle.” Speaks of the dynamic character of the event with emphasis on the outcome of the event.
The Spirit and signs:
1) Agrees with 1 Cor. 12:11
2) Agrees with Gal. 3:5
3) Agrees with 1 Peter 1:12
Obviously the author is using hard evidence here which means he is not going to use “signs, wonders and various miracles” as proof to the readers if the readers had never seen them. Point: Miracles and signs were common, very common since they are mentioned by Luke, Paul, Peter and the author of Hebrews as evidence.