Walking Thru The Bible

New Testament -- Hebrews

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                 Walking Thru The Bible



       The 21 New Testament epistles are generally divided into two groups.

          1)   The Pauline Epistles (13) Romans - Philemon

          2)   The General Epistles (8) Hebrews - Jude


       The book of Hebrews is the riddle book of the New Testament.  It

     contains the most perfect Greek of the Bible, yet it stands without telling us

     who the author is.  It is as much a sermon as it is an epistle.  In fact in the

     words of the author it is called a "word of exhortation" (or encouragement) in

     13:22, which is what a sermon is called in Acts 13:15  [Barnabas was called

     "the son of exhortation" or son of encouragement.]


       There are those who believe that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews and

     would classify it with his epistles.


       Why was the letter written?  We see several things the author apparently

     wanted to accomplish.  First, he wanted to encourage faltering Jewish

     Christians not to drift away from the message which they have heard (2:1;

     5:12-14; 12:1-2).  Some seemed about to forsake Christ and the Gospel and

     go back to the Law of Moses.

       And second, he wanted to encourage them to grow in their faith and not

     become stagnant (5:12-6:1).

       Third, they should be prepared to endure persecution.

       Fourth, the author endeavors to show the absurdity of forsaking

     Christianity and returning to the Law system (8:6-23; 9:13-15; 10:1-4; Gal.



       The recipients of this letter were in a situation of extreme danger (10:32-34).  
    Persecution was causing some to "forsake the assembly" (10:25).  The

     recipients were making spiritual progress as they should but were still infants

     in the Lord (5:12-6:3).  They appear vulnerable to "diverse and strange

     teachings" (13:9) concerning food laws (9:10); and a tendency to view Christ

     as an angel (ch. 1, 2).



       There are five great "exhortation" passages in the book where the writer

     exhorts them to hold to the Word that God has spoken through His Son (cf.

     Heb. 1:1-2).  In turning away from Christ and the Gospel there were in danger



          Drifting from the Word -- 2:1-4

          Doubting the Word -- 3:7 - 4:13

          Dullness toward the Word -- 5:11 - 6:20

          Despising the Word -- 10:26-39

          Defying the Word -- 12:14-29


              Key Word: "Better"


       The book of Hebrews can be called the "BETTER" Book of the New

     Testament.  The word "better" occurs some 13 times and apply describes the

     New Covenant in relation to the Old.  The Dupont company had a slogan,

     "Building better things through chemistry."  The slogan of Hebrews could well

     be, "Building better things through the blood of Jesus." 


      1. Heb. 1:4     made so much better than the angels        Better Revelation

               (a more excellent name)            Better Name

      2. Heb. 6:9     we are persuaded better things of you      Better End

      3. Heb. 7:7     the less is blessed of the better                    Better Priesthood

      4. Heb. 7:19  the bringing in of a better hope                  Better Hope

      5. Heb. 7:22  made a surety of a better covenant           Better Covenant

      6. Heb. 8:6     the mediator of a better covenant               Better Mediator

      7. Heb. 8:6     was established upon better promises       Better Promises

      8. Heb. 9:23  with better sacrifices than these                 Better Sacrifices

      9. Heb. 10:34   in heaven a better and enduring substance  Better Future

     10. Heb. 11:16 but now they desire a better country              Better Country

     11. Heb. 11:35 they might obtain a better resurrection      Better Resurrection

     12. Heb. 11:40 provided some better thing for us            Better Thing

     13. Heb. 12:24 blood speaks better things than Abel's       Better Blood

               (Abel's blood cried vengeance, Gen. 4:10

               (Christ's blood speaks redemption)


           Superior To The Prophets

       The epistle exalts the person and the word of Christ.  The first three verses

     sets forth this high and holy theme which is maintained throughout the entire

     book.  Immediately it is demonstrated that Jesus Christ is superior to the

     prophets, men who were held in the  highest esteem by the Jewish people and

     who had  ministered in giving Israel God's Word.


       Christ was superior to the prophets in his person because he was the very

     son of God, and the "express image" of the Father (1:3).  This carried the idea

     of "the exact imprint."  It means that Jesus Christ is "the exact representation

     of the very substance of God" (See Colossians 2:9 and John 14:9).


       Christ was superior to the prophets in his work.  To begin with He is the

     Creator of the universe;  for by Him, God "made the worlds" (Heb. 1:2).  Not

     only did Christ create all things by His Word (John 1:1-5), but He also

     upholds all things by that same powerful Word (1:3).  "And He is before all

     things, and by Him all things consist hold together"  (Col. 1:17).


       The word "upholding" (1:3) does not mean "holding up," as though the

     universe is a burden on the back of Jesus like Atlas is pictured holding up the

     world.  But it means He is the God of Creation and providence who guides the

     universe on its course.


       Christ is also the superior Prophet who declares God's Word.  The

     contrast between Christ "The Prophet"  the other prophets of the Old Covenant

     are easy to see:



                 The Prophets



                 God the Son

                   One Son

             A final and complete


              Men called by God

                Many prophets

              A fragmentary and

              incomplete message



       Of course, both the Old Testament and the Gospel revelation came from

     God; but Jesus Christ was God's "last word" as far as revelation is concerned. 

     Christ is the source, center, and the end of everything that God has to say.


            Superior To The Angels


       Hebrews 1:4-14 affirms that Christ is not only superior to the prophets,

     but also to the angels of heaven.  Jesus wore a name no angel could wear,

     "son".  As God and Creator He was to be worshiped (1:6), but no angel was

     to be.  ("Firstborn" in the Bible does not always mean "born first."  It speaks

     of rank and honor.  God made Solomon the firstborn (Ps. 89:27) even though

     Solomon is listed tenth in the official genealogy of David, I Chron. 3:1-5.)


       Christ's superiority to angels is seen in that he was served by them (1:7),

     and that He is Creator (1:10-12).  Christ stands sovereign with the angels as

     servants even to us (1:13-14).


      Superior Prophet, Priest, and King


       Not only does Hebrews present Christ as superior to the Old Testament

     prophets (with Christ God's Prophet today); but the Lord has a ministry as

     Priest.  He "purged our sins" and this aspect of his ministry is detailed in

     chapters 7-10.


       And also Christ reigns as King.  He has sat down at the place of honor

     "on the right hand of the majesty on high."  This too proves his Deity, for no

     mere created being could ever sit on God's throne at His right hand!


            Drifting With The Tide

                      Hebrews 2:1


     1.   "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we

               have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip." (Hebrews 2:1)

       a. The ASV says: "Lest haply we should drift away from them."


     2.   Too often Christians and churches drift with the tide.


     3.   What is some evidence that one may be drifting with the tide?


     1.   _________________________________________________

       Hebrews 10:25


     2.   _________________________________________________

       Hebrews 5:12-6:3; 1 Peter 2:2  


     3.   _________________ ________________________________

       1 Cor. 15:58;  Phil. 2:12; Titus 3:1;  Eph. 2:10


     4.   _________________________________________________

       Romans 12:1;  2 Sam. 24:24; Matt. 6:19-21


     5.   _________________________________________________

       James 5:16b;  1 Thess. 5:17


     6.   _________________________________________________

       Matt. 5:6


     7.   _________________________________________________

       Prov. 11:30


     8.   _________________________________________________

       1 Tim. 6:6-9; Heb. 13:5; Heb. 11:25


     9.   _________________________________________________

       John 14:1;  Rom. 8:28

-- Windell Gann -- Walking Thru the Bible -- http://home.hiwaay.net/~wgann/walk.htm

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