If the word spoken by angels - The law, (according to some), which was delivered by the mediation of angels, God frequently employing these to communicate his will to men. See Acts 7:53; and Galatians 3:19. But the apostle probably means those particular messages which God sent by angels, as in the case of Lot, Genesis 19:, and such like.
Was steadfast - Was so confirmed by the Divine authority, and so strict, that it would not tolerate any offense, but inflicted punishment on every act of transgression, every case in which the bounds laid down by the law, were passed over; and every act of disobedience in respect to the duties enjoined.
Received a just recompense - That kind and degree of punishment which the law prescribed for those who broke it.
For if the word spoken by angels - The revelation in the Old Testament. It was indeed given by Yahweh, but it was the common opinion of the Hebrews that it was by the ministry of angels; see Acts 7:38, Acts 7:53 notes, and Galatians 3:19 note, where this point is fully considered. As Paul was discoursing here of the superiority of the Redeemer to the angels, it was to the point to refer to the fact that the Law had been given by the ministry of angels.
Was steadfast - Was firm - βέβαιος bebaiossettled - established. It was not vacillating and fluctuating. It determined what crime was, and it was firm in its punishment. It did not yield to circumstances; but if not obeyed in all respects, it denounced punishment. The idea here is not that everything was “fulfilled,” but it is that the Law so given could not be violated with impunity. It was not safe to violate it, but it took notice of the slightest failure to yield perfect obedience to its demands. And every transgression - Literally, “going beyond, passing by.” It means every instance of “disregarding” the Law. And disobedience. - Every instance of “not hearing” the Law - παρακοὴ parakoē- and hence, every instance of disobeying it. The word here stands opposite to “hearing” it, or attending to it - and the sense of the whole is, that the slightest infraction of the Law was sure to be punished. It made no provision for indulgence in sin; it demanded prompt, implicit, and entire obedience. “Received a just recompense of reward.” Was strictly punished. Subjected to equal retribution. This was the character of the Law. It threatened punishment for each and every offence, and made no allowance for transgression in any form; compare Numbers 15:30-31.
And every transgression - Literally, “going beyond, passing by.” It means every instance of “disregarding” the Law.
And disobedience. - Every instance of “not hearing” the Law - παρακοὴ parakoē- and hence, every instance of disobeying it. The word here stands opposite to “hearing” it, or attending to it - and the sense of the whole is, that the slightest infraction of the Law was sure to be punished. It made no provision for indulgence in sin; it demanded prompt, implicit, and entire obedience. “Received a just recompense of reward.” Was strictly punished. Subjected to equal retribution. This was the character of the Law. It threatened punishment for each and every offence, and made no allowance for transgression in any form; compare Numbers 15:30-31.
Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted. God calls upon His people, who have the light before them in the Word and in the Testimonies, to read and consider, and to take heed. Clear and definite instruction has been given in order that all may understand. But the itching desire to originate something new results in strange doctrines, and largely destroys the influence of those who would be a power for good if they held firm the beginning of their confidence in the truth the Lord had given them. 2SM 38.1
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip [margin: “run out as leaking vessels”]. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?” (Hebrews 2:1-3). “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:12-14). 2SM 38.2
Brother and Sister Haskell, we must put on every piece of the armor, and having done all, stand firm. We are set as a defense for the gospel, and we must compose a part of the Lord's grand army for aggressive warfare. By the Lord's faithful ambassadors the truth must be presented in clear-cut lines. Much of that which today is called testing truth is twaddle which leads to a resistance of the Holy Spirit.… 2SM 38.3Read in context »
Study carefully the first chapter of Hebrews. Become interested in the Scriptures. Read and study them diligently. “In them ye think ye have eternal life,” Christ said, “and they are they which testify of Me.” It means everything to us to have an experimental and individual knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, “whom He hath sent.” “For this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”—Special Testimonies On Education, March 23, 1896. FE 404.1
“The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,”—to those who are not self-sufficient, but who are willing to learn. What was the work of the God-given messenger to our world? The only-begotten Son of God clothed His divinity with humanity, and came to our world as a teacher, an instructor, to reveal truth in contrast with error. Truth, saving truth, never languished on His tongue, never suffered in His hands, but was made to stand out plainly and clearly defined amid the moral darkness prevailing in our world. For this work He left the heavenly courts. He said of Himself, “For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” The truth came from His lips with freshness and power, as a new revelation. He was the way, the truth, and the life. His life, given for this sinful world, was full of earnestness and momentous results; for His work was to save perishing souls. He came forth to be the True Light, shining amid the moral darkness of superstition and error, and was announced by a voice from heaven, proclaiming, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And at His transfiguration this voice from heaven was again heard, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” FE 405.1Read in context »
All around us are the young, the impenitent, the unconverted, and what are we doing for them? Parents, in the ardor of your first love, are you seeking for the conversion of your children, or are you engrossed with the things of this life to such an extent that you are not making earnest efforts to be laborers together with God? Do you have an appreciation of the work and mission of the Holy Spirit? Do you realize that the Holy Spirit is the agency whereby we are to reach the souls of those around us? When this meeting shall close, will you go from here and forget the earnest appeals that have been made to you? Will the messages of warning be left unheeded, and the truth you have heard leak out of your heart as water leaks out of a broken vessel? 1SM 190.1
The apostle says, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Hebrews 2:1-4). 1SM 190.2
The third angel's message is swelling into a loud cry, and you must not feel at liberty to neglect the present duty, and still entertain the idea that at some future time you will be the recipients of great blessing, when without any effort on your part a wonderful revival will take place. Today you are to give yourselves to God, that He may make of you vessels unto honor, and meet for His service. Today you are to give yourself to God, that you may be emptied of self, emptied of envy, jealousy, evil surmising, strife, everything that shall be dishonoring to God. Today you are to have your vessel purified that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord—fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.—The Review and Herald, March 22, 1892. 1SM 190.3Read in context »
At the call, “The Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,” the waiting ones “arose and trimmed their lamps;” they studied the word of God with an intensity of interest before unknown. Angels were sent from heaven to arouse those who had become discouraged and prepare them to receive the message. The work did not stand in the wisdom and learning of men, but in the power of God. It was not the most talented, but the most humble and devoted, who were the first to hear and obey the call. Farmers left their crops standing in the fields, mechanics laid down their tools, and with tears and rejoicing went out to give the warning. Those who had formerly led in the cause were among the last to join in this movement. The churches in general closed their doors against this message, and a large company of those who received it withdrew from their connection. In the providence of God this proclamation united with the second angel's message and gave power to that work. GC 402.1
The message, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!” was not so much a matter of argument, though the Scripture proof was clear and conclusive. There went with it an impelling power that moved the soul. There was no doubt, no questioning. Upon the occasion of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem the people who were assembled from all parts of the land to keep the feast flocked to the Mount of Olives, and as they joined the throng that were escorting Jesus they caught the inspiration of the hour and helped to swell the shout: “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!” Matthew 21:9. In like manner did unbelievers who flocked to the Adventist meetings—some from curiosity, some merely to ridicule—feel the convincing power attending the message: “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!” GC 402.2
At that time there was faith that brought answers to prayer—faith that had respect to the recompense of reward. Like showers of rain upon the thirsty earth, the Spirit of grace descended upon the earnest seekers. Those who expected soon to stand face to face with their Redeemer felt a solemn joy that was unutterable. The softening, subduing power of the Holy Spirit melted the heart as His blessing was bestowed in rich measure upon the faithful, believing ones. GC 402.3Read in context »