“How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.” Hebrews 2:3
I have heard this scripture quoted a lot by many doing evangelism. Sometimes it has been used to state that our escape from hell fire is salvation. We just need to realize that salvation is not escape from hell. Our deliverance from hell is a consequence of receiving salvation which speaks more of our union with divinity.
In the context of this passage, the writer of Hebrews was speaking to the Jews who were still hanging on to Judaism and pledging their allegiance to the Law of Moses. God was bringing the Old Testament and its administration to an end. It could not be allowed to exist side by side with the new. The judgment of God was coming upon the nation of Israel who murdered their covenant partner and rejected the Messiah. This rejection eventually led to the Jewish leaders in rejecting the righteousness from Jesus and reverting back to the ‘righteousness’ through the Temple sacrifices. As Paul said they refused to submit to the righteousness of God.
It wasn’t quite long there came wars led by Zealots between Jews and Rome which were initially won by Jewish rebels and their false ‘messiahs’ who trying to restore the kingdom back to Israel. Eventually this short lived victory was overturned when Titus rallied the Roman Army and they laid sieged over Jerusalem. The Temple was destroyed and Jerusalem was laid to waste. The nation of Israel also was destroyed as persecution broke out and many fled into different parts of the world.
Hebrews 10:26-29 says
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the Law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
The emphasis is “The Sin” and not “The Sins” as seen in Chapter 12. The sin was the sin of rejection which Jesus described as the unpardonable sin. That was how they sinned against the Holy Spirit. They insulted the Spirit of Grace by saying Jesus’s blood is common as the blood of bulls and goats.
The ‘judgment and the raging fire’ quoted in the book of Thessalonians and Peter refers to what happened in AD70 when the temple in Jerusalem was burnt down and the walls destroyed.
Many people today are still under the fear of committing the unpardonable sin by saying something bad about the Holy Spirit or blaspheming Him. Some have even said the unpardonable sin is fornication. I heard of a man who committed suicide because he was told by a Christian brother that he had committed the unpardonable sin when he slept with a lady. Many churches also preach about how one can commit the “sin that leads to death” and then use such fear against the members.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Jesus is the only high priest who was able to intercede and be the sacrifice at the same time. His sacrifice has made available something that the blood of bulls and goats could provide: Eternal Salvation. Hebrews 9:12 says “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” This salvation has made reconciliation for sins that has given us eternal rest.
Just as Simon Yap once commented in his blog “Hence, when the writer told them to labour to enter into that rest, it was at the time of writing and it was before AD70. As such those statements about “entering into that rest” should be read now as “they managed to enter into that rest already”.
Our salvation is so great that we have eternal security and peace knowing that we have been perfected in Jesus our merciful and faithful high priest.