Hebrews 10 28 Notes

Note: these are the notes used in this study presented April 1, 2023. The video of this study appears at https://youtu.be/1kPsrn6FJ9c It is only 34 minutes long as we forgot to resume the recording after the break so I am posting the notes here. The point of the break is indicated and material before that point will be on the video.

The file below is minimally edited. An edited, complete study will be posted when it is done.

“He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:” (Hebrews 10:28)

Who was that referring to?

The Greek indicates that it could refer to anyone.

However, there is a specific case mentioned in scripture:

“Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them. But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” (Num 15:29-31)

Is that showing 2 classes of sin?

  • sinning in ignorance = not knowing the word of the LORD
  • presumptuous sin = despising the word of the LORD

Notice: it is not divided by children of Israel vs stranger

“Broken his commandment” – which one?

The very next verse gives what is likely an example of that:

“And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Num 15:32-36)

Could he be the person Paul referred to?

Did he despise Moses’ law?

Did he die without mercy?

Notice “they found” so there were at least 2 witnesses.

not declared what should be done to him” (Deut 17:12, later, below)

King David was involved in a similar situation:

“Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.” (2 Sam 12:9)

What David did was not an accident; he had plenty of time to think about it.

The penalty according to the law of Moses for what David did was what?

“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Lev 20:10)

Was David put to death?

Did he die “without mercy?

No, rather, David acknowledged his sin:

“And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” (2 Sam 12:13)

Which do you think is God’s preference:

That the sinner is punished without mercy?


That the sinner acknowledges and confesses his sin?

This shows that it was not an irrevocable death sentence.

What was the death sentence meant for?

Perhaps it was meant to bring about contrition for sin and repentance and a turning back to God Who is ever-merciful.

It is very clear that David did repent and thus was spared the sentence.

I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” (Psa 32:5)

“For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” (Psa 51:3)

These verses point to the certainty that, if the man who was gathering sticks had repented, he would also have received forgiveness:

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psa 51:17)

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Pro 28:13)

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” (Micah 7:18)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

When Hebrews 10:28 says he “died without mercy” that does not mean that mercy was not offered – it is always offered or else God is not ever-merciful.

Right? – it cannot mean that.

Rather, it was not accepted. It is the same as forgiveness which is both given and received.

Here is a verse which indicates that, even in the case of a presumptuous sin, the sinner was to be interceded with by the priest:

“And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.” (Deut 17:12)

Surely, the words of the priest would (or should) have included a plea to repent.

Should that have happened in the case of the man who was gathering sticks?

Yet, it says:

  • “that soul shall be utterly cut off” (Num 15:31)
  • “that man shall die” (Deut 17:12)
  • he “died without mercy” (Heb 10:28)
  • “stoned him with stones, and he died” (Num 15:36)

So, what do we do?

How do we understand this apparent contradiction?

Look through the Jesus lens:

The Jesus lens

“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Lev 20:10)

“And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4  They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. … She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:3-4, 11)

One could argue that Jesus did say: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” But whatever that meant, there is something very different between these two situations.

Much depends on your understanding of the law. Was it

  • imposed          or      consequential?
  • arbitrary         or      natural?
  • retributive      or      restorative?
  • to condemn   or      to diagnose?
  • self-serving    or      other-serving?
  • for control      or      for blessing?

We are going to compare a large portion of 2 Corinthians 3 in the KJV with the same passage in The Remedy – to help understand the law. And then we can apply what we learn to the Old Testament.

King James Version   The Remedy New Testament
“6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. “6 He has made us competent members of His spiritual health-care team to distribute his Remedy–not merely the diagnostic tool of the law but the healing power of the Spirit; for the law diagnoses us as terminal, but the Spirit restores us to life.

Is that reasonable to call the letter, as in the letter of the law, a diagnostic tool?

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Rom 7:7)

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:” (Rom 5:20)

“Moreover the law entered as a diagnostic tool, that we might realize our sinfulness. But as we became more aware of our state of sinfulness, our feeling of need for grace became greater:” (Rom 5:20, expanded paraphrase)

King James Version The Remedy New Testament
7 But if the ministration of death …
7 Now, if the agency that diagnosed mankind as terminal
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more … 9 If the agency that diagnoses people as terminal is glorious, how much more glorious …

What is the agency that diagnoses as terminal?

Is it God that condemns or ?

“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Rom 7:9)

Sin revived = he became aware of his sinful condition

“Once I thought I was healthy and free from the infection of distrust, fear and selfishness, but then the commandment examined me, exposed how utterly infected I was, and diagnosed me as terminal.” (Rom 7:9, The Remedy New Testament)

The “I died” is no more literal than various equivalent terms (surely die etc) in the Old Testament are. We can easily accept what Paul said as figurative yet be 100% certain that statements in the Old Testament are literal.

Break Material up to this point is included in the YouTube video.

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” (Rom 8:3)

“For what the written law could not do (enable us to overcome sin), in that it was weak through (weakened by) the flesh (it lacked the power, the motivation, the inspiration, the example), God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and (as a remedy) for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” (Rom 8:3, expanded)

How did Jesus condemn sin?

“He could have said: “See it can be done.”

“The written law was powerless to restore trust, as it could merely diagnose the infection of distrust and selfishness pervading us all. God accomplished this restoration of his character of love in humans by sending his own Son in human flesh to eradicate selfishness from humanity, reveal the truth about God, expose the lies of Satan, and reveal what happens when the infection of sin is not cured. And so he condemned the infection of selfishness as the destroying element in sinful humanity” (Rom 8:3, The Remedy New Testament)

“For what the law could not do” = the written law

His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh = the living law

King James Version The Remedy new Testament
14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 14 Sadly, their minds were dull: even to this day a veil of misunderstanding obscures their minds whenever the symbolic teaching system and diagnostic code is read. The veil of confusion has not been removed because they misunderstand or reject Christ; and it is Christ who reveals the true meaning of it all.
15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 15 Yes, even today, when the first five books of the Old Testament are read, a veil of confusion and misunderstanding covers their hearts.

Where actually is the veil?

The problem is not with the law of God (that it is not clear) but with the mind of man.

King James Version The Remedy New Testament
16 Nevertheless when it [anyone] shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 16 But whenever anyone accepts Jesus and the truth he has revealed, the veil of confusion is taken away.
17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 17 We experience Jesus through the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom from confusion, fear, and selfishness.
18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 18 And we, whose minds are not veiled by confusion, and who reveal the truth about the Lord’s glorious character, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord and is applied in us by the Spirit.

1 John 5:18-20 gives us an understanding

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4)

So, again, we have:

  • he “died without mercy” (Heb 10:28)
  • “that soul shall be utterly cut off” (Num 15:31)
  • “stoned him with stones, and he died” (Num 15:36)
  • “that man shall die” (Deut 17:12)

So how can it be that “he died without mercy”? Some possibilities:

  • He was not offered mercy by the Israelites who were a little too eager to punish (God permitted their action, accommodation?)
  • He did not accept the mercy offered
  • He died in a spiritual sense (like “I die daily” – Paul)
  • Died (eventually) but did not repent in the meantime.

There are 3 pages on the website on related topics that we have recently looked at. We will look at some points from each one (the links are provided).

  1. https://characterofgod.org/exodus-31-14-surely-die/

 Biblical Healing Model – Purposely defiling the Sabbath, which was a sign between God and His people (Exo 31:13), indicated the sinner breaking the covenant relationship with God which, unrepented of, could only result in eternal separation from God.

“Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely [H4191] be put to death [H4191]: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” (Exo 31:14)

Could “cut off from among his people” mean “to be ostracized”?

First mention:

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely [H4191]: die [H4191]: (Gen 2:17)

What death was that pointing to? They did not die right away, there was no execution. Their death was almost a thousand years later – a death that everyone dies. Now compare the two verses:

Exodus 31 14

 The Hebrew is exactly the same in each case. So, Exodus 31:14 could have been translated as:

“Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you:
every one that defileth it shall surely die …”

“from among” (Exo 31:14) indicates a separation from other people, not from life.

 Our minds automatically take “cut off from among” to mean death. But…

Why couldn’t it mean physically banished from the camp? Maybe, go join the Edomites. Why couldn’t it mean to no longer be in covenant relationship with God?  

  1. https://characterofgod.org/that-soul-shall-be-cut-off/

 Biblical Healing Model – “That soul shall be cut off,” properly understood, warns that those who defile the Sabbath separate themselves from the covenant between God and His people and, if they don’t turn back to God, the Source of life, they will experience eternal death.

“Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” (Exo 31:14)

Earlier (Num 15:32) we saw that “it was not declared what should be done to him” (the man who was gathering sticks) yet here it is. There must have been some misunderstanding on their part or some details of how that was to happen were not yet given.

“Cut off” also used for making or cutting a covenant (cut a deal)

“And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off (karath; H3772) from among his people.” (Lev 20:6)

Did King Saul do that?

“Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.” (1 Sam 28:7) ***

By the way, “familiar” as in “familiar spirits” can mean “family liar.” When a witch brings up a familiar spirit it is most often due to a person requesting an audience with a deceased family member and (the impersonation of) that deceased family member normally tells lies.

Was Saul immediately killed by God?

“Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.” (1 Sam 31:4)

Died during a battle – by his own hand.

“And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.” (Gen 17:14)

  1. https://characterofgod.org/exodus-21-17-surely-be-put-to-death/

We looked at this verse:

“And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely (H4191) be put to death (H4191).” (Exo 21:17)

We found good reasons why this could not literally be a physical execution.

“He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.” (Exo 21:12) -14

That brings to mind the story of Cain and Abel.

“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Gen 4:8)

According to the judgments given in Exodus 21, Cain should have been put to death.

Do you suppose God never offered Cain forgiveness?

God’s action, however, after what was likely a call to repentance (“… Where is Abel thy brother? …” – Gen 4:9), was to grant Cain protection from death:

“And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” (Gen 4:15)

“He that smiteth a man, so that he die, has separated himself from covenant relationship with me (God) and if he does not repent and return to Me, the eventual, inevitable and natural (not imposed) result is that he shall surely die.” (Exo 21:12, adapted)

  1. Stoning

Have studied, needs more work

Stones used for voting, declaring verdicts

  1. “Bearing sin” or “bearing iniquity.”

That is another study yet to do

I hope by now, you can see that

“He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:” (Heb 10:28)

cannot mean that God gets so upset with people who don’t like Him that He turns off His mercy and orders their execution and eternal loss.

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