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Book of Hebrews
On Pentecost A.D. 33 (Acts 2) the Holy Spirit descended in power on the house where the apostles met, a sound from Heaven was heard, as of a rushing mighty wind (Acts 2:2). The was a multitude from many nations, gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost. This multitude included Jews and converts to Judaism, from Asia, Africa and Europe. The Holy Spirit enabled those in the room to speak in the languages of all these nations (Acts 2:7-11). This symbolized God’s plan, that the Church was NOT only for those in Israel, but believers throughout the world. This event came the 50th day following Passover, therefore the name Pentecost.
From here on, Christianity grew throughout the world where by the 64 A.D, they blamed Christians as the cause of Rome’s fire. The Romans felt the gods were punishing them for those who abandoned them for Christianity. Christianity had spread throughout the world. But the Jews, who accepted Jesus as Messiah, were struggling, emotionally, physically and economically. They had become outcasts, lost property and suffered persecution by those who rejected Jesus. Some who were considering Jesus, were having second thoughts after weighing the costs (Mat.16:25-26; Lk.9:57-62; 14:28-33). Others attempted compromise, to try to please the Jewish authorities, and still others simply did NOT understand Christ Jesus in contrast to Mosaic law. The reason for the Epistle to the Hebrews was to encourage these groups of Jewish believers and seekers, to continue in their walk and to persevere in their pursuit. The Epistle of Hebrews answers questions the Jewish believers struggled with in the first century. They needed to understand the relationship between the Old and the New Covenants. WHY was Jesus superior to Moses? WHY did Jesus’ death eliminate the need for the Levitical sacrificial system. WHAT is the connection between the Tabernacle and Jesus? IS there another way to obtain salvation? CAN a person lose their salvation?
The questions this first century group of Jewish believers and seekers struggled with, are pretty much the same that many in the Church struggle with today. I think that it was for this reason, the Holy Spirit, through the writer of this book included it as part of the New Testament, to help the believer understand the connection between the Old and New Covenants.
The book of Hebrews boldly proclaims the superiority of Jesus Christ and Christianity over all other religions, including Judaism. In a reasonable argument, the author demonstrates Jesus’ superiority, then adds solid instructions for following Jesus. One of the exceptional features of the Book (or Letter) of Hebrews is the FAITH HALL OF FAME, of Old Testament people, found in Chapter 11.
Author of the Book of Hebrews: The author of Hebrews does not name himself. Paul has been suggested as the author by some scholars, but the true author remains anonymous. There are arguments for and against Paul's authorship. Some possible authors: Paul, Peter, Barnabas, Silas, Phillip, even Aquila and Priscilla.
Date Written: Hebrews was written before the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. The time of the writing of this book can be dated before 64 A.D., the beginning of persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, where Christians were killed for their faith. Rome was burned that year and Nero blamed the Christians, which started the persecution. This letter was written before the persecution of 64 A.D. with Christians dying for their faith, under Roman persecution.
Written To: Hebrew Christians who were wavering in their faith, and all future readers of the Bible. Gentiles are not mentioned in the Book. Understanding WHO is being spoken to in the letter, is the key to understanding the Book of Hebrews.
The audience can be broken down into three groups.
- #1. Hebrew Christians
- #2. Hebrew Non-Christians who are intellectually convinced, and
- #3. Hebrew Non-Christians who are not convinced.
Setting of the Book of Hebrews: Although addressed to Hebrews who may have been considering Jesus, or Hebrew Christians who were "homesick" for Judaism, this Book speaks to EVERYONE who is wondering WHY they should follow Christ. It goes above and beyond its ancient audience and gives answers to the seekers of today.
Themes in the Book of Hebrews:
#1. Jesus Christ is superior. The Son of God is better than angels, priests, Old Testament leaders, or any other religion. By His dying on the cross and rising from the dead, Jesus can guarantee all TRUE believers salvation and eternal life.
#2. Jesus serves as our Mediator to the Father. Christ Jesus, the Sinless One, is our only valid representative before the throne of God. Our Mediator: (Heb.8;6; 9:15; 12:24).
#3. Christ's once for all Sacrifice for our sins was perfect and complete (Heb.10:10). ALL the laws, rituals and animal sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed toward Jesus and Jesus alone! When we believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13), and accept Jesus as Saviour, our sins are forgiven for all time (Jn.3:16; Eph.1:7).
A Christian journey is NOT an easy one. Some people think that when they accept Jesus by faith, and become a Christian, it will all be smooth sailing. WRONG! Satan will come at you hard and fast with temptation after temptation! He wants you back on his side, NOT in the Arms of Jesus, and he will do everything he can to accomplish this. But, if you are sincere about your commitment to Jesus, you shall be blessed to have the Holy Spirit bestowed upon you (Jn.14:17,23; Rom.5:5; 8:9), and He shall help you in your walk with Jesus. A TRUE Christian journey is the ONLY one that leads to Heaven!
When we depend on Jesus to help us, we can grow stronger with each passing day and bring glory to God with our life. Faith is pleasing to God. We express our faith through our obedience to God. God's greatest Promise to us is salvation, and eternal life in Heaven. That Promise was fulfilled through the once for all Sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
We, as God’s children (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8) are called to persevere, to hang in there! And despite temptations, trials, discipline and occasional backsliding, we can withstand what comes our way. God is a God of Truth (Tit.1:2), and God is faithful and has prepared a heavenly home for us (Jn.14;1-4; 1 Pet.1:4). Dear one, IF you have saving faith in Jesus, that home in Heaven is RESERVED for you!
Main Characters in the Book of Hebrews: Timothy is mentioned toward the end of the letter, and many Old Testament characters are listed in Chapter 11, in the "Faith Hall of Fame."
Key words in the Book of Hebrews: BETTER (Heb.1:4; 6:9; 7:7,19,22; 8:6; 9:23; 10:34; 11:16,35; 12:24). 11 times. GOOD: (Heb.5:14; 6:5; 9:11; 10:1,24; 11:2,12;39; 12:9; 13:16,16,21). 11 times.
Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (KJV)
Hebrews 5:8-10 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (KJV)
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (KJV)
Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (KJV)
Outline of the Book of Hebrews:
• Jesus Christ is superior to angels . . . Hebrews 1:1-2:18.
• Jesus is superior to the Law and the old covenant . . . Hebrews 3:1-10:18.
• A call to be faithful and endure through trials . . . Hebrews 10:19-12:29.
• Final encouragements and greetings . . . Hebrews 13:1-25.
Consider that when a Jew left his faith:
He was disinherited by his family.
He was excommunicated from the congregation.
He had a loss of employment.
He was dispossessed.
He had mental harassment, and physical torture.
He had public mockery.
He was imprisoned.
He suffered martyrdom.
Renouncing Christ and returning to Judaism was the only escape route.
Charles Halff was a Jew who founded the Christian Jew Foundation in San Antonio, Texas. In his booklet “What it Costs a Jew to Become a Christian”, he tells of the persecution that he suffered when he told his family that he had become a Christian. “My father and uncle packed up all my belongings and had thrown them out in the back yard in a messy pile.” (page 22). His family said: “He’s gone crazy.” “You’re religiously insane.” “He needs a psychiatrist.” “He’s lost his mind.” (page 16).
His father beat him, had him thrown in jail, filed an insanity charge against him. (page 20). Then the tempter came, in the form of his grandmother. She asked him to meet her at the bank, thinking that he might recant and give up his faith in Christ. She offered him $85,000 that was in her safe deposit box. He said the temptation was great because he had holes in his pants and holes in his shoes. (page 24).
This man did NOT give in to temptation. He started his radio ministry in 1947, and kept on in his solid faith in Christ Jesus until the Lord called him home.
Consider this my friend: WHO is this Christ?
One who is greater than the prophets.
One who is greater than the angels
One who is greater than Moses
One who is greater than Joshua
One who is superior to the priesthood than Aaron
One who has introduced a better covenant
One whose once-for-all sacrifice was far superior to the repeated offerings of bulls or goats
Book of Hebrews
ch.1 . . ch.2 . . ch.3 . . ch.4 . . ch.5 . . ch.6 . . ch.7 . . ch.8 . . ch.9 . . ch.10 . . ch. 11 . . ch.12 . . ch.13. . Special Comments