A group of my friends from college and myself are coming together weekly to work through Hebrews this summer. I was tasked with preparing a study on Hebrews 3:7-19 aka "Apostasy Central" as I like to call it. This text clearly teaches on the nature of apsotasy, ἀφίστημι ( Hebrews 3:12), meaning "to fall away". The large group of Israelites are the historical example of apostasy the writer of Hebrews presents. The chief characteristic of the apostate, in the wandering nation of Israel and in men today is unbelief.
The Israelites proved themselves to be false children of God who deplored God's good provision in leading them out of Egypt and contended, complained, and stood against God and his servant-leader Moses. These were the actions that sprung forth from their deep well of unbelief.
What shall we say about apostate men and women in this age? How does one identify the apostate? Unbelief is the root of their sin and will be the cause of God's wrath falling upon them ( Hebrews 3:10-11 ). Apostate people will additionally display:
- Unfaithful questioning Exodus 17:7
- Ignorance of God's direction Hebrews 3:7-8
- Testing of God "Massah" Exodus 17:7, Hebrews 3:9
- Quarreling with one another, leaders, and God "Meribah" Exodus 17:7
Next time we will look at the pointed (and hopefully piercing) exhortation in Hebrews 3:12-19.