The Berean Expositor
Volume 20 - Page 97 of 195
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The Epistle to the Hebrews.
The birthright (12: 15-25).
pp. 10 - 14
We now pass from that which is common to all sons to that which is peculiar to the
firstborn, namely, the birthright. It will help us in the approach to this section to see the
structure first:--
Heb. 12: 15-25.
A | 15. | a | Looking diligently.
b | Lest any man fall back.
B | 16, 17. The birthright bartered (Prototokia).
C | 18-21. Ye are not come. Six "ands". SINAI.
C | 22, 23. But ye are not come. Seven "ands". SION.
B | 23, 24. The birthright enjoyed (Prototokos).
A | 25. | a | See.
b | Lest ye refuse.
The section opens with a warning: "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace
of God." It does not say "fall from the grace of God", but "fail of the grace of God".
Hustereo, "to come short", occurs in Heb. 4: 1, and that passage partially explains what
we are considering here: "Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering
into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." The context speaks of Israel's
forty years' wandering in the wilderness, and their failure, though redeemed, to "go on
unto perfection". We are not dealing with sonship, but with birthright; not salvation, but
possession, not deliverance from Egypt, but entry into Canaan.  The warning is
Lest any fail (come short) of the grace of God.
Lest any root of bitterness spring up.
Lest there be any fornicator or profane person as Esau.
What is this root of bitterness? The apostle is quoting from Deut. 29:, and a
reference to that passage will show his meaning clearly. Moses is addressing the people
of Israel before his death, at the close of forty years' wandering in the wilderness, and in
verse 18 says:--
"Lest there be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth
away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest
there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood."
Here is the "root of bitterness", a heart that turns away from God, or, in the language
of Heb. 3: 12:--