Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
The English words, “apostate” and “apostasy” do not appear in the King James Bible. But neither do the words “Trinity,” or “demon.” Yet the Greek word “apostasia” is translated twice in the New Testament. It is seen once as “a falling away” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, and again as “to forsake” in Acts 21:21. Nevertheless it is a real and permanently condemned condition of the soul. Let us see what we may learn of this fearful situation.
The Lord Jesus spoke of this condition several times during his earthly ministry. Here are a few of the recorded passages in which he referred to this situation.
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, (that is, its quality of taste), wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. When professed disciples, who later prove that they had no spiritual birth by having no benefit to others as true servants of Christ, are then not able to be renewed again unto repentance. Therefore they remain eternally in that apostatized condition.
Matthew 7:21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. These continued on in a hypocritical condition, having only a form of godliness, but were all that while workers of iniquity.
Matthew 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
And we learn from our context that to become an apostate one has to be “once enlightened.” For one cannot apostatize from that which he never professed. And there is more influence from the Holy Spirit upon these individuals than we might imagine. For it is clearly stated that they have actually “tasted of the heavenly gift,” and of “the good word of God.” And have also been influenced by “the powers of the world to come.” That is the phrase the Jews used to refer to the Messianic kingdom of Christ.
This may seem strange to many, but the gospel is a most powerful influence upon those who hear it. It is referred to as, “the power of God unto salvation.” Romans 1:16 For there are said to be stony ground hearers, who receive the word with joy. And there are thorny ground hearers who do begin to develop until the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and they become unfruitful. Matthew 13:19-23 Therefore there is a powerful effect upon the mind and emotions, which seemingly appear to be a genuine conversion. But these finally fall away (apostatize), and are then rendered impossible to be renewed again unto repentance.
Esau was such an example. Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Esau only sought the blessing with tears, not repentance! He was only sad that he lost the blessing of the first-born, for he had no respect to that spiritual blessing.
Therefore Christ’s sacrifice has had no good affect upon them, and as far as their condition is concerned, they would have to be crucified afresh, and put to an open shame. But Christ had done a perfect work, satisfying the Father, and is sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
God both spoke of this apostasy in times past, and prophesied of it for our latter times. Consider these verses: Proverbs 21:16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead. Ezekiel 18:24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.
Then the Holy Spirit prophesied “expressly” concerning the apostasy of our last days. 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
False preachers under the influence of Satan – the angel of light, shall just make up rules to enforce upon poor religionists, in place of the true word of God! And those church attenders shall only have a form of godliness, being more attentive to religious fables!
2 Timothy 4:1 ¶ I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
And that is where we are today, dear Reader! For since COVID, multitudes have not returned to even their former religious practice. 1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Consider what the Apostle Peter states of these. He proves that by their actions they show themselves never to have been God’s sheep. For they only have the nature of dogs and sows! 2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
And this willful sin places them in a most dreadful situation. Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Luke 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.