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Saturday, September 15 2012

The Epistles: Hebrews

Studies in this complete Epistles series:
What Is An Epistle? Luke Acts Romans First Corinthians
Second Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians
First Thessalonians Second Thessalonians First Timothy Second Timothy Titus
Philemon Hebrews James First Peter Second Peter
First John Second John Third John Jude Revelation


The author of the epistle (as with all of the epistles in this series, please read the entire epistle from your own Bible, along with this lesson) is unstated in the epistle itself. While many believe that the apostle Paul is the most likely and logical source, there remain other possibilities, some who are known by name from other Scriptures. Whoever it was, it seems that the author was as much a Hebrew as the intended readers, and was a recognized and respected teacher of the Gospel.

The Western Wall

"1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son [see Who Is The LORD?], whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:1-2 KJV);

The key ancestor of "the chosen people" was Abraham. It was from him that the Messianic "seed of Abraham" would come (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches).

"2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." (Hebrews 2:14-18 KJV)

Moses knew Jesus Christ as well as, and as clearly as, Abraham did centuries before him (see Who Is The LORD?).

"3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 3:2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Moses]. 3:3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. 3:4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. 3:5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Hebrews 3:1-6 KJV)

Abraham knew Melchisedec as he knew Jesus Christ. The identity of "the LORD God" is the key to understanding the Holy Scriptures (again, see Who Is The LORD? and carefully prove from your own Bible that Jesus Christ was "the LORD God").

Abraham and Isaac

"4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16 KJV)

"5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 5:2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 5:3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. 5:4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 5:6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." (Hebrews 5:1-6 KJV)

Everyone will get one opportunity, sooner or later (see the Fact Finder question below), to understand the Truth and obey it. Those who choose to reject the Messiah's offer of salvation will, according to their choice, be rejected for salvation.

"6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame [see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners].

6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 6:8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned [see The Lake Of Fire Into An Ocean Of Fire - When?].

6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love [see Works Means Obedience], which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6:4-12 KJV)

The Levitical High Priest was an office created by Jesus Christ to portray Jesus Christ.

"9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves [see The Blood Of Bulls And Goats], but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place [see The Day Of Atonement: It's All About Christianity], having obtained eternal redemption for us. 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The New Covenant], that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." (Hebrews 9:11-15 KJV)

"By Faith"

Hebrews chapter 11 has become known as "the faith chapter" of the Bible. It moreover provided the information of why those people were faithful.

Abraham's Journey

"11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?], so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain [see The Sins Of The World's Oldest Profession], by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death [see What Happened To Enoch?]; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith [see The Voyage To The New World; also How Did The Flood Happen?].

11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went [see A Biography Of Abraham: From Ur To Canaan]. 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise [see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Abraham?]: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable [see A Biography Of Abraham: Sarah].

11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city [see The True Gospel Of Christ].

11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac [see A History Of Jerusalem: Melchizedek's Salem]: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come [see The First Meeting Of Israel And Esau].

11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph [see Jacob's Blessing Of Ephraim And Manasseh]; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

11:22 By faith Joseph [see Joseph, Prime Minister Of Egypt], when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment [see The River Of Moses].

11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt [see Moses Of Midian], not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 11:28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land [see The Night Crossing]: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not [see The Faith Of Rahab], when she had received the spies with peace.

11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." (Hebrews 11:1-40 KJV)

Fact Finder: When will the "promise" to all of the faithful, who lived through all of history up to that day, be delivered?
See When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin


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This Day In History, September 15

76 BC: Alexander Jannaeus (Alexander Yannai), the Hasmonean / Maccabean king of Judaea, died (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Hasmonean Judea and Christ's Hanukkah). The Maccabees led the people of Judah to independence after the original "abomination of desolation" was committed in Jerusalem by the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes (see A History Of Jerusalem: Abomination Of Desolation). Alexander Jannaeus succeeded his brother Aristobulus in 103 BC. He was an ally of the Sadducees and persecuted their opponents, the Pharisees (see The Origin Of The Essenes, Sadducees And Pharisees).

668: Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II was assassinated at Syracuse, Italy.

1620: A group of 102 English settlers, later known as "pilgrims," including some who had been living in Holland, left Plymouth, England, bound for the New World. The name of their ship was the Mayflower.

1648: The Larger and the Shorter Catechisms, both produced by the Westminster Assembly the previous year, were approved by the British Parliament. These two documents have been in regular use among various Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Baptists from that time.

1697: Augustus II, elector of Saxony, was crowned king of Poland.

1776: During the revolution of the New England colonies that had been established by English pioneers over 150 years earlier, British forces under General William Howe captured New York City (named after England's Duke of York).

1821: San Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala declared themselves independent of Spain.

1830: The first railway fatality occurred when British Member of Parliament William Huskisson was run down by "Stephenson's Rocket."

1835: The HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, arrived at the Galápagos Islands (listen to our Sermon Darwin's Theory of Evolution).

1916: The first deployment of tanks in battle - 49 British "Big Willies" participated in the Battle of The Somme during the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1928: Scottish researcher Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic effect of penicillin.

1935: In Germany, the Nazis under the leadership of Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) enacted the Nuremburg Laws, beginning a program of violent religious and racial persecution. All Jews were deprived of their citizenship and the "ghettos" were created. The same day, the Swastika became the national flag of Germany.

1938: British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew to Germany to meet Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden, the first of two meetings to try and avoid the crisis over the Sudetenland.

1940: At the height of the Battle of Britain, Royal Air Force Hurricanes and Spitfires shot down 185 Nazi planes. The day has since been celebrated as Battle of Britain day.

1945: A hurricane destroyed over 350 military aircraft at a naval air station in Florida.

1959: Nikita Khrushchev became the first Russian head of state to visit the U.S.

1963: During the struggle for civil rights of black people in the U.S., four black children died when their church in Montgomery, Alabama was destroyed by a bomb.

1968: The unmanned Soviet Zond 5 spaceship was launched. It became the first vehicle to fly around the Moon and then return and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.

1972: Two former White House aides, Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy, were added to the five men already charged with the break-in at the Watergate building during the Nixon regime.

1982: Despite Israel's protest, Pope John Paul II had a private meeting with Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat in the Vatican (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

2008: Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history to date.




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