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.
God is testing the characters of all. He is proving their love for His cause and for the promulgation of the truth which they profess to consider of inestimable value. The Searcher of hearts is judging, by the fruits they bear, who are truly followers of Christ; who, like their divine Pattern, will renounce the honors and treasures of the world, and consent to be of no reputation, preferring the favor of God and the cross of Christ, that they may, in the end, secure the true riches, the treasure laid up in heaven, the recompense of reward—eternal glory. 2T 688.1
Those who do not really wish to know themselves will allow the reproofs and warnings to pass to others, and will not discern that their own cases are met, their errors and dangers pointed out. Earthly, selfish motives blind the mind and so operate upon the soul that it cannot be renewed in the divine image. Those who do not, by their own perverse natures, resist His will, will not be left in darkness, but will be renewed in knowledge and true holiness, and will even glory in the cross of Christ. 2T 688.2
I have been shown that, at the right time, God would press the burden upon me to say to individuals, as Nathan said to David: “Thou art the man.” Many apparently believe the testimonies borne to others and, like David, give judgment in reference to them, when they should be closely searching their own hearts, analyzing their own lives, and making a practical application of the close reproofs and warnings given to others. 2T 688.3Read 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 »
“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 2:2, 3). Here is presented to us the importance of our speaking. God wants us to communicate. Have the treasure house of the heart full, full of the precious words of the Scriptures. Hand it right out; it is the precious message of God to them.... UL 332.3Read 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 »