The Book of Hebrews – Heb 4:12 “To Day if ye Will Hear His Voice, Harden not Your Hearts” – Part 4

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Heb 4:12 “To Day if ye Will Hear His Voice, Harden not Your Hearts” – Part 4

[Study Aired July 30, 2020]

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 

In this verse of our study we see in the words that describe God’s spiritual Word, which is likened to a sword, that the elect are the first recipients to benefit from its use regarding becoming a new creation (Eph 1:12).

All the attributes of His word described in Hebrews 4:12 are used against our old man in a judgment which is currently on the house of God today and the sword of His Word is not meant to depart from us (1Pe 4:17, 1Jn 4:17, 2Sa 12:10).

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment (Heb 4:16): because as he is, so are we in this world.

2Sa 12:10  Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

God’s word, “the sword of the spirit” (Eph 6:17), is not departing from our house for a Godly reason that will bring us unto perfection on the third day, and His love will be perfected in us, if we are granted to endure until the end. (Luk 13:32, Mat 24:13).

The certainty of Christ being able to accomplish this work in us is then discussed in the verses that follow which we will look at next week, stating that He has “passed into the heavens“, meaning He is in our hearts and minds as our hope of glory (Col 1:27). Therefore we ought to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy” before the one who has endured the cross and knows how to comfort and deliver us as we come boldly before His presence where we will “find grace to help in time of need” (1Jn 3:2-3).

1Jn 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be (Eph 1:14): but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
1Jn 3:3  And every man that hath this hope (Col 1:27) in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

As we are led by the spirit of God, “the sword of the Spirit” (Rom 8:14), the mind of Christ will give us victory over every possible enemy that may come up against us in this lifelong battle against the powers and principalities God created for our sakes to overcome through Christ who is far above all those principalities (Eph 6:12, Eph 1:21). We are learning to let our speech be “alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man”.

Through the word, through Christ, God’s elect are called to learn that all things work together for good “to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” It is with the mind of Christ (1Co 2:16) that we can be as Christ (1Jn 4:17) and apply these most encouraging promises of scripture to ourselves as a kind of first fruits (Rom 8:27-30).

Rom 8:27  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God [with “the sword of the spirit” Heb 4:12].
Rom 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Rom 8:30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

This next section of Romans 8 confirms the promises we just read and reassures us of what we can expect God to do for His children against any and all enemies within and without that come up against Christ, our hope of glory within (Col 1:27).

Rom 8:31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Rom 8:32  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Rom 8:33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
Rom 8:34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Rom 8:36  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter [Mat 16:25].

Mat 16:25  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Rom 8:37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Rom 8:38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Peter’s actions found in this section of John 18:8-10 reveal that he was willing to die for Christ in his flesh but not die with Christ on the cross, which none of us can do without God’s holy spirit within us making that possible (Rom 8:9).

Dying on the cross is described as this spiritual dissection of our old man which is accomplished by God’s word “the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart“, and these very actions we are discussing in Hebrews 4:12 (quickpowerfulsharperpiercingdividing) define the process of judgment that is upon our carnal beastly nature which is being overcome through Christ against our flesh (Gal 5:17), and it typifies in the sacrifices of the many beasts in the book of Leviticus the very specific order of those sacrifices to the glory of God – just as God’s elect are today being nourished through the beasts being driven from our heavens (“the land”) little and by little as we present ourselves a living sacrifice (Rom 8:36, Exo 23:30, Rom 12:1).

In this same section of scripture (Joh 18:8-10), Christ is contrasted with Peter’s fleshly response to the circumstances God created, with words that explain how we are to truly fight a good fight of faith: “I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way.”

Christ lays His life down for us, willing to go through the process of suffering, despising the shame and looking to the joy that was set before Him (Heb 12:2), not just for the joy of knowing he would be going back to the fullness of the relationship with our Father but also for the joy of knowing He would now be equipped to accomplish the joyous task of being able to redeem the rest of the world, starting with the propitiation of our sins as our drink offering (1Jn 2:2, Mat 26:29, Luk 17:21).

This is the same joy of serving that has been set before us helping us and giving us vision so we can endure through this life knowing there is a purpose behind all our suffering and affliction as we fill up what is behind of His afflictions for His body’s sake, which is the church (1Jn 4:17, Joh 15:13, Col 1:24).

Peter is used to make the point that our flesh witnesses against us (the cock crows 2 times) until we go through a process of judgment (flesh denies Christ three times). This process is accomplished by grace (5) through Christ (2+3=5 [Eph 2:8]) as we learn that Christ won’t deny Himself the purpose for which He has come into our heavens (2Ti 2:13).

Christ being a mature son was able to discern Peter’s present condition of being yet carnal, and prophesied for our sakes the process each of us must go through in order to become mature sons by putting “up again thy sword into his place” and loving our enemies “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven” (Mat 26:33-36, Mat 5:44-45).

Joh 18:8  Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:
Joh 18:9  That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
Joh 18:10  Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

[Peter’s violent action of cutting the ear off “the high priest’s servant” typifies our trying to force conversion on someone; and then Christ heals the ‘deadly wound’ so to speak, and puts the babylonian ear back on him because it was not Malchus’ time to know the truth, but he was witnessed to through all these actions]

Mat 26:33  Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.
Mat 26:34  Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Mat 26:35  Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

Mat 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

All these stories were written for our sakes and were given to us to inspire us to “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” as we “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” God is working with each of us so that our speech can always be with grace, “Seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

1Ti 4:12  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
1Ti 4:13  Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
1Ti 4:14  Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
1Ti 4:15  Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
1Ti 4:16  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Col 4:6  Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Christ is our example in showing us how to overcome the adversary through a life time of vigilantly looking to God for the power we need to overcome our otherwise helpless flesh as we die daily and cry out to him in that we fear (1Co 15:31, Heb 5:7). While we are in this valley of the shadow of death, we are in our time of need (Heb 4:16) and can rest assured as we labour to enter into the rest of our Lord (Heb 12:1-4) that He can make us more than conquerors over every power and principality that is against us as we come to be convinced that nothing can separate us from His hand (Eph 6:12, Eph 1:21, Mat 24:24, Joh 10:28-29, Rom 8:38-39).

Heb 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Heb 12:1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Heb 12:3  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Heb 12:4  Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

Mat 24:24  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Joh 10:28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. Joh 10:29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick,G2198 and powerfulG1756and sharperG5114 than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart [Heb 5:14].

It takes the quickG2198 and powerfulG1756 and sharperG5114 than any twoedged sword word of God to discern the heart of man within us and without us. The question is asked therefore “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” The answer is in the next verse of Jeremiah: “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways [Pro 14:12], and according to the fruit of his doings” [Jer 17:10].

God’s word has to be quickG2198 and powerfulG1756 and sharperG5114 than any two-edged sword, to cut through the two-edged sword which represents the witness of man’s knowledge, or the wisdom of men, which is not the power of God (1Co 2:5-8). ‘Knowledge is power’, as the saying goes, but it is the words of eternal life (Joh 6:68) in which we are to have faith as we continue in His word (Joh 8:31-32). Those words sanctify and justify us as we are granted to be established and built on upon our Rock, Jesus Christ (Mat 16:18, Joh 17:17, Mat 16:18).

Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

1Co 2:5  That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
1Co 2:6  Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
1Co 2:7  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1Co 2:8  Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Joh 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Mat 16:18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The body of Christ needs to be confident in what we have and never cast away that confidence in the promises found within God’s word that are exceedingly great and precious. They declare the victory that will be ours through Jesus Christ who is working in us both to will and to do of our Father’s good pleasure (2Pe 1:4, Php 2:13). (What Godly confidence is and is not, is explained in these verses – Php 1:6, Heb 10:35, Php 3:3)

Php 1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Heb 10:35  Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

Php 3:3  For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Again, in this example of Peter’s confidence in his flesh found in John 18:10, Christ resolved the damage Peter was caused to do – for our sakes – by the quickG2198 and powerfulG1756 and sharperG5114 word of God that healed the servant’s ear, and quickly told Peter to “put up again thy sword” (Mat 26:52). Knowing that God’s word has both a positive and negative application, we know that Peter’s example was demonstrating how we all at first want to defend our position in life and strike down anything that gets in our way, especially regarding religious belief, as opposed to dying daily and seeing the need to constantly see the greatest enemy we will ever face is ourselves as we pray the Lord will never let “the sword of the spirit” depart from our house (1Co 15:31, Eph 6:17, 2Sa 12:10).

Here now is some of the etymology of these three words: quick,G2198 and powerful,G1756 and sharper G5114 that will be used to divide asunder “soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart“.

These words that define what God’s word can do within our heavens, will be needed to sharpen us (Pro 27:17) so we can overcome the conditions described in these verses (Mat 24:4-13).

Mat 24:4  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
Mat 24:5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Mat 24:6  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Mat 24:7  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Mat 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Mat 24:9  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
Mat 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Mat 24:11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
Mat 24:12  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Mat 24:13  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

The “sword of the spirit” has to convict us and quicken us (Joh 6:63) in order to die daily and overcome through Jesus Christ.

quick G2198   zaō
Total KJV Occurrences: 144
live, 55
Mat_4:4, Mat_9:18, Mar_5:23, Luk_4:4, Luk_10:28, Luk_20:38, Joh_5:25, Joh_6:51, Joh_6:57-58 (3), Joh_11:25, Joh_14:19 (2), Act_17:28, Act_22:22, Act_25:24, Act_28:4, Rom_1:17, Rom_6:2, Rom_8:12-13 (3), Rom_10:5, Rom_14:8 (3), Rom_14:11, 1Co_9:14, 2Co_4:11, 2Co_5:15 (2), 2Co_6:9, 2Co_13:4, Gal_2:14, Gal_2:19-20 (4), Gal_3:11-12 (2), Gal_5:25, Phi_1:21-22 (2), 1Th_3:8, 1Th_5:10, 2Ti_3:12, Tit_2:12, Heb_10:38, Heb_12:9, Jam_4:15, 1Pe_2:24, 1Pe_4:6, 1Jo_4:9, Rev_13:14

living, 34
Mat_16:16, Mat_22:32, Mat_26:63, Mar_12:27, Luk_15:13, Luk_20:38, Luk_24:5, Joh_4:10-11 (2), Joh_6:51, Joh_6:57, Joh_6:69, Joh_7:38, Act_14:15, Rom_9:26, Rom_12:1, Rom_14:9, 1Co_15:45, 2Co_3:3, 2Co_6:16, Col_2:20, 1Th_1:9, 1Ti_3:15, 1Ti_4:10, 1Ti_6:17, Heb_3:12, Heb_9:14, Heb_10:20, Heb_10:31, Heb_12:22, 1Pe_2:4, Rev_7:2, Rev_7:17, Rev_16:3

liveth, 25
Joh_4:50-51 (2), Joh_4:53, Joh_11:26, Rom_6:10 (2), Rom_7:1-3 (3), Rom_14:7, 1Co_7:39, 2Co_13:4, Gal_2:20, 1Ti_5:6 (2), Heb_7:8, Heb_7:25, Heb_9:17, 1Pe_1:23, Rev_1:18, Rev_4:9-10 (2), Rev_5:14, Rev_15:6-7 (2)

alive, 15
Mat_27:63, Mar_16:11, Luk_24:23, Act_1:3, Act_9:41, Act_20:12, Act_25:19, Rom_6:1, Rom_6:13, Rom_7:9, 1Th_4:15, 1Th_4:17, Rev_1:18, Rev_2:8, Rev_19:20

lived, 4
Luk_2:36, Act_26:5, Col_3:7, Rev_20:4

quick, 4
Act_10:42, 2Ti_4:1, Heb_4:12, 1Pe_4:5

lively, 3
Act_7:38, 1Pe_1:3, 1Pe_2:5

livest, 2
Gal_2:14, Rev_3:1

life, 1

lifetime, 1

powerful G1756   energēs  Total KJV Occurrences: 3

effectual, 2
1Co_16:9, Phm_1:6

powerful, 1

sharper G5114 tomōteros  Total KJV Occurrences: 1
sharper, 1

I’ve spent a lot of time on this one verse (Heb 4:12) that describes God’s word, His voice, that we are to hear in hearts that are entreatable and miraculously not hardened (Heb 3:15, Isa 66:2), setting the stage for the verses we will look at next week (Heb 4:13-16), which describe what God’s word is able to accomplish right now in our lives through our great high priest, Jesus Christ, who is where He is, in our heavens, so that we can “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need“.

Lord willing, we will look at these last four verses of our study next week that we pray will help us see how we are to be “stedfast in the faith“, moving with fear to the saving of our spiritual house (Heb 11:7) as we overcome the adversary through Christ, and learn that Godliness with contentment is great gain (1Pe 5:8-10, 1Ti 6:6-10).

Heb 3:15  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Heb 11:7  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

1Pe 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
1Pe 5:9  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
1Pe 5:10  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

1Ti 6:6  But godliness with contentment is great gain [Heb 12:2].
1Ti 6:7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
1Ti 6:8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
1Ti 6:9  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
1Ti 6:10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Heb 4:13  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Heb 4:14  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 
Heb 4:15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 
Heb 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

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