Therefore 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,
Hebrews 6:1 (KJV)
Leaving – Why is the author of the letter to the Hebrews encouraging us to leave the doctrines of Christ? Shouldn’t we embrace them, keep them, and even remain in them… always? If anyone told me to leave the doctrines of Christ today, I’d rebuke them and declare Yeshua as my everything! So why is this here?
This verse exemplifies the difference between the Greek and Hebrew worldviews. Remember, this book was written to Hebrew people, probably by a Hebrew author (some say Paul). So we need to understand this verse with a Hebrew worldview. But first let’s see how the Greek worldview would interpret this.
Because the author speaks of going on to perfection, and leaving something behind, his meaning must have something to do with the past and future, right? The Greek worldview often visualizes when a person leaves something behind, that person’s back is turned to it and if the person is going on, then he is advancing into the future head-on. Can you picture that? A person walks face-forward into the future while the past is at his back. The past is behind him and cannot be seen, but he is watching everything coming toward him. Makes sense right? We should all be accustomed to this representation. And if we were to apply this interpretation to this verse, we’d essentially be leaving behind Christ’s teachings, turning our backs to them. My guess is that this verse doesn’t sit well for most with this interpretation.
So let’s review this with the Hebrew worldview. For a Hebrew, going on into the future is like walking backwards. Hebrews don’t walk face-forward into the future, they walk backwards into it – metaphorically of course. This is because the future is what cannot be seen, while the past is clearly visible. So the future is at his back, unseen, and as he walks backwards, he aligns himself with the past whether it be with the people, or events, etc. This is a little more difficult to comprehend for us Greek thinking individuals, but the image makes much more sense in light of this verse.
If we envision ourselves, like the Hebrews, walking backwards as we went on to perfection, then we’d understand that we’re only doing so by aligning ourselves with the doctrines of Christ which remain in our focus. You see the only way, when walking backwards, to know we’re walking in the right direction is to observe markers with which we can align ourselves. Those markers are made up of several things; the Torah, the forefathers, Christ, the Apostles, etc. Because we know that they were all in alignment, as long as we remain in that alignment, we’ll know without a doubt that we’re walking in the right direction… even if it is backwards.