JST Hebrews 6:1 Therefore, not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection
"If a man leaves the principles of the doctrine of Christ, how can he be saved in the principles? This is a contradiction. I don't believe it. I will render it as it should be-'Therefore not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection...'" (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P. Burton [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 245.)
"Not laying again the doctrine of Christ, go on unto perfection. Obtain that Holy Spirit of Promise. Then you can be sealed to eternal life...
"I advise all to go on to perfection and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of godliness." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 187-188.)
Hebrews 6:1-2 the foundation of repentance...faith...baptisms, and of laying on of hands
George F. Richards
"The Bible Commentary by Matthew Henry has this to say with respect to the above quotation:
'These are the greatest foundation principles, which ministers should clearly and convincingly unfold and clearly apply. In these the people should be well instructed and established, and from these they must never depart; without these, the other parts of religion have no foundation to support them.'" (Conference Report, October 1936, Afternoon Meeting 52.)
"'We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.' [A of F 1:4] I don't believe there is any other church in the world built upon that foundation, and yet if we turn to the sixth chapter of Hebrews, Paul says:
'... leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.' (Heb. 6:1-2.)
"That is exactly the same as we have it in our Articles of Faith." ("Laying a Foundation for the Millennium," Ensign, Dec. 1971, 84)
"As I finished my first mission over in Amsterdam, over seventy-five years ago, I was invited into the home of one of the Saints to talk to her neighbor. When my companion and I arrived, the neighbor was there but she had her minister with her. We had a little difference of opinion on priesthood, and right there he challenged me to a debate in his church the next Saturday night.
"When we arrived, the church was full; all of his people were there, and all of our people. How our people found it out, I don't know; I didn't tell them!
"The minister stood up and said, 'Now, inasmuch as Mr. Richards is a guest in our church, we will accord him the privilege of opening this debate, and we will each talk for twenty minutes. Is that agreeable with you, Mr. Richards?'
"I said, 'Very much.' I didn't tell him, but I would have given him the shirt off my back for the privilege of opening that debate, and he just handed it to me on a silver platter! I didn't know whether the Lord had anything to do with it or not, but I thought He did!
"Then I stood up and I said, 'The last time I talked with my friend, we had a difference of opinion on priesthood. Tonight I have come prepared to discuss that subject, but I don't propose to start at that point. (This was one of my strong points in my mission.) If you are going to build a house, you don't try to put a roof on it before you get the foundation in.' They agreed with that, so I said, 'I propose to lay the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ,' and I chose for my text the sixth chapter of Hebrews where Paul said:
'Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.' (Heb. 6:1-2.)
"I hurried over faith and repentance-I thought they believed in them. I spoke on baptism by immersion for the remission of sin until everybody was giving me accord.
"Then it came to the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. And they didn't believe that. I never found a church that did believe it outside of our Church-they think the Holy Ghost comes just like the breezes that blow over the head...then I gave them a few more references on the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and sat down.
"The minister stood up and talked for twenty minutes, and he never once mentioned a word I had said. He started on the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the 'Mormon Bible,' and stated that Joseph Smith had admitted he had made many mistakes; and then in a most courteous manner, he said: 'Now if Mr. Richards will enlighten us on these matters, I am sure this audience will be most appreciative.'
"I was on my feet just like that...I said, 'In the days of the Savior, his enemies tried to trick him with cunning and craftiness. I don't suppose there's anybody here tonight that would like to see us resort to those old tactics.' I said, 'If I understand a debate, it is the presentation of argument and the answering of those presentations. Has this man answered any of my arguments?'
"Everybody said, 'No.'
"I said, 'All right, my friend, you may have your twenty minutes over again.' He couldn't do it, and I knew he couldn't.
"Finally his wife stood up in the audience, and she said, 'What Mr. Richards is asking you is fair. You ought to answer him.'
"But he couldn't do it, and I said to my companion, 'Stand up and give me my coat and hat.' I said, 'One more chance. I am willing to remain here until ten o'clock tomorrow morning, when we have to be in our own church, provided this debate can go forward on the basis that you set it up. If not, I am going to leave and ask my companion to leave and ask our members to leave, and we will leave it with you to settle with your people for what has transpired here tonight.'
"I met him on the street a number of times after that, but he would duck his head so he didn't need to speak to me!" ("What the Gospel Teaches," Ensign, May 1982, 30-31)
Hebrews 6:2 Why does Paul say baptisms in the plural form?
"[Joseph Smith] said that the plural term 'baptisms' in this passage had reference to baptism for the living, baptism for the dead, and rebaptism. (Hebrews 6:1-2.)" (Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet, p. 87)
Hebrews 6:2 the doctrine of...resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment
While we normally think of the first four principles and ordinance of the gospel, we should not forget the fundamental principles of resurrection and judgment. The six most important principles and ordinances of the gospel are:
1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
3) Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins
4) The laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost
5) The Resurrection of the Dead
6) Eternal Judgment
"The doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead & Eternal Judgment are necessary to preach among the first principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ." (The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, compiled and edited by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook [Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1980], 4.)
Hebrews 6:4-6 The Sons of Perdition
Paul speaks of those who were once enlightened and then fell away. These are the sons of perdition. Of course, these souls must have a great knowledge of the truth prior to their fall to be considered sons of perdition. Joseph Smith said that to sin against the Holy Ghost, a man "has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it." (Teachings, 358)
One of the interesting, and almost unbelievable, concepts is that these apostates become so malicious and wicked that they would 'crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.' In other words, they would crucify Christ all over again if they had the chance. Hereby, they become ex post facto accomplices to the murder of Jesus Christ and receive judgment as if they had personally nailed Jesus to the cross. The Lord says these are those who 'assent unto my death, after [they] have received my new and everlasting covenant' (DC 132:27).
Joseph Fielding Smith
"These who are to be so severely punished must first have the testimony of the gospel and by the power of the Holy Ghost know that Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God. Afterwards if they sin and openly and wilfully turn against the truth and deny Christ, they assent unto his death, and this is equivalent to crucifying him again and the shedding of innocent blood, and they put him to open shame." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 1: 63.)
Hebrews 6:4-6 it is impossible...to renew them again unto repentance
"...according to the Scripture, if men have received the good word of God, and tasted of the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, it is impossible to renew them again, seeing they have crucified the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame...the power of Elijah cannot seal against this sin, for this is a reserve made in the seals and power of the Priesthood." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 338.)
Hebrews 6:7-8 Herbs and Briers
The herbs and briers analogy is akin to the sheep and the goats. The sheep will be found righteous and inherit a place at the right hand of Christ at the final judgment. The goats will be found unworthy, except to be burned (Matt. 25:31-46). The herbs are the sheep. They will be redeemed and inherit one of three glorious kingdoms. The briers are the sons of perdition, who are 'the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord' (DC 76:38).
Hebrews 6:10 God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love
Dallin H. Oaks
"...a follower of Christ is obligated to serve him. Many scriptural references to the name of the Lord seem to be references to the work of his kingdom. Thus, when Peter and the other Apostles were beaten, they rejoiced 'that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.' (Acts 5:41.) Paul wrote certain members who had ministered to the Saints that the Lord would not forget the labor of love they had 'shewed toward his name.' (Heb. 6:10.) According to this meaning, by witnessing our willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, we signify our willingness to do the work of his kingdom." ("Taking upon Us the Name of Jesus Christ," Ensign, May 1985, 80)
Hebrews 6:11-19 the full assurance of hope...the hope set before us
Paul has made it clear (v. 1-2) that he is no longer talking about the fundamental gospel principles. When he declares, 'let us go on unto perfection,' we may safely assume that he is speaking of deep doctrines.
Gospel hope is the faithful anticipation of a glorious resurrection through the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God. 'The full assurance of hope' is something greater. The saint who through diligence, faith, and patience demonstrates his determination to follow God under all circumstances may receive what Paul calls 'the full assurance of hope.' This is a greater degree or higher expectation of hope. It is the hope of those who have been given the promise of eternal life.
To receive one's calling and election is to be given the promise of eternal life. This promise, like the promise given to Abraham (v. 13), is administered by an oath-a solemn promise by God. Joseph Smith exhorted each saint to "continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted." (Teachings, 150) Having received this oath of God, the individual receives 'the full assurance of hope' spoken of.
"[Paul] was careful to press upon them the necessity of continuing on until they, as well as those who inherited the promises, might have the assurance of their salvation confirmed to them by an oath from the mouth of him who could not lie. For that seemed to be the example anciently, and Paul holds it out to his brethren as an object attainable in his day. And why not?...
"If the Saints in the days of the apostles were privileged to...[know] that their names were written in the Lamb's book of life and that they were sealed there as a perpetual memorial before the face of the Most High, will not the same faithfulness, the same purity of heart, and the same faith bring the same assurance of eternal life-and that in the same manner-to the children of men now in this age of the world?" (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 190.)
"They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 298.)
Hebrews 6:12 be not slothful, but...through patience and faith inherit the promises
Neal A. Maxwell
"Is it any wonder, then, if, in His plan, our 'faith and patience' are regularly tried? (See Mosiah 23:21.) Paul confirms that those who 'inherit the promises' are those who have triumphed 'through faith and patience' (Hebrews 6:12). Abraham 'obtained the promise,' but only 'after he had patiently endured' (Hebrews 6:15). Long-suffering, endurance, and patience are designed to be constant companions, as are faith, hope, and charity.
"While a person is thinking his way through his particular hesitations or reservations about faith, he might ask, 'Does God really know what I am passing through?' The answer is 'Yes!' He knows!" (Lord, Increase Our Faith [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 39.)
Hebrews 6:16-17 God...confirmed it by an oath
When God says he will do something, he will do it. If God has sworn with an oath that he will dispense some blessing, there is no reason to question or doubt. His oath acts as a confirmation which should put an end to all strife.
Carlos E. Asay
"I stand in humble adoration of my Maker when I realize that he has sworn and confirmed his part of the agreement with an oath. (See Heb. 6:13-17.) He will never fall short of his promise, nor will he void it or compromise it in the slightest degree." ("The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood," Ensign, Nov. 1985, 45)
Hebrews 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul
"Paul was...a man of hope, who realized the word's true meaning. He made fifty-two of the New Testament's fifty-nine references to hope, including the only New Testament reference to Christ as the 'hope of Israel' ("Acts 28:20Acts 28:20). Hope, as taught by Paul, is founded on Christ (1 Timothy 1:1). It is apparent that the apostle understood the difference between hoping gospel principles are true and possessing 'a hope in Christ' (Jacob 2:19) that allows us to believe that we can obtain 'a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God' (Ether 12:4). He instructs us to 'lay hold upon the hope set before us,' contending that it can provide a sure and steady anchor to the faithful who long to enter within the veil (Hebrews 6:18-20)." (Michael W. Middleton in The Apostle Paul, His Life and His Testimony: The 23d Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 122 - 123.)
Russell M. Nelson
"A more excellent hope is mightier than a wistful wish. Hope, fortified by faith and charity, forges a force as strong as steel. Hope becomes an anchor to the soul. To this anchor, the faithful can cling, securely tethered to the Lord. Satan, on the other hand, would have us cast away that anchor and drift with the ebb tide of despair. If we will cling to the anchor of hope, it will be our safeguard forever. As declared in scripture: 'Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast.' (Ether 12:4)" ("A More Excellent Hope," Ensign, Feb. 1997, 61)
Elaine L. Jack
"Hope is a steadying influence. To say it is an anchor is to say it can keep us from drifting aimlessly or getting caught in whirlpools or running into sandbars. Hope, the anchor, is essential in this world so full of tidal waves. Sometimes those waves slap us from behind, sometimes we see them coming but cannot stop them or get out of the way. In all cases hope ties us to safety. The waves come and go in their fury or playfulness, but hope is always there if we will but use this sure anchor." ("A Perfect Brightness of Hope," Ensign, Mar. 1992, 14)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Having ultimate hope does not mean we will always be rescued from proximate problems, but we will be rescued from everlasting death!" ("Brightness of Hope," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 35)
Hebrews 6:19-20 within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus
Bruce R. McConkie
"As the high priest in Israel passed through the veil into the holy of holies on the day of atonement, as part of the cleansing rites which freed Israel from sin (Lev. 16), so Jesus has entered into heaven to prepare the way for those who through obedience to his laws become clean and pure." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 165.)