Select Page
Read Introduction to Hebrews

8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.


8 but if it bears thorns and briers [thistles],

If ground is unproductive, it does not bless others. Land that bears “thorns and briers” is barren and non-productive. God is not at work on it.

it is rejected [disapproved]

The word “rejected” or disapproved occurs in 1 Corinthians 9:27, where it is used of a believer disqualified for service. The word means to reject after testing. The believers of Hebrews 6 were disqualified because they did not stand the test; they were unqualified to walk with God (1 Co 9:27). This idea does not imply loss of salvation. “Rejected” means unproved; it is something that does not stand a test (2 Ti 2:15). In context, their disqualification had to do with their reversion to Levitical sacrifices.

and near to being cursed,

God was “near” to rejecting the non-productive Christian lives of Jewish Christians. They were in a state where they could not be renewed “again to repentance.” This is the fate of those who refuse to develop a mature view of Christ. God will execute the divine discipline of cursing on what they produce.

whose end is to be burned.

In biblical days a field that yielded thorns and thistles was burned. This would allow a better crop to grow on the same ground. The actions of Jewish readers of Hebrews to return to Levitical sacrifices would be burned. God would put their production to the refining fire of divine discipline (He 12:5–11). The burning here has nothing to do with hell. The point is the destruction of bad produce, not the ground itself. The burning of the field would allow it to be productive again.

“Burned” here does not refer to hell. There is nothing in the context to introduce this idea. People in biblical times burned unproductive fields of thorns and thistles. They did not destroy the field but what the field produced. The fire could not destroy the field itself. The fire simply exposed the quality of production.


God does not completely despair of those who fail to grasp truth.


Verses 7 and 8 give two alternative outcomes:

—Follow God’s principles for production, v.7

— Remain in spiritual reversionism and unproduction, v.8

The arguments of verses 7 and 8 show that God does not completely despair of those who distort their theology. God will destroy their poor production, but He will not reject the land itself—that is, the believer.

Some Christians will not respond to God’s discipline, others will (He 12:6-7). As long as some do not function on a proper view of Christ and Christianity, God will burn their production. Those out of His will do not receive His reward. Those who do not produce fruit show that they are not in phase with God. What they deem as production is empty action.

God offers His provision for what we need in life. He will bless our lives if we live the Christian way of life truthfully. He showers blessing, like rain on the ground, on those who are receptive to what He gives.