There is a lot in this book about the Old Testament. So if you're not a Jew, you would not understand.
We don't know who wrote Hebrews and who it was written to. It’s a great riddle.
As we approach the book, we can find out where and why it was written.
The language is different from other New Testament books. The Greek is more classical than the others. And this is not Paul's style of writing.
Chapter 13 gives us a clue of whom and when.
Heb 13:23 – I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you
It was written to Jewish Christians. It could have been from Jerusalem to Italy or vice versa.
By then there is persecution. There was no persecution during Paul's time.
This verse talks about persecution.
They were being persecuted but not yet being killed for their faith.
Theologians put the data at AD63
Just before AD70.
Throughout Hebrews, the writer refers to sacrifice still going on. In AD70, the temple was destroyed and Jerusalem was destroyed.
Nero ruled post AD70. He initially did a lot of good but then started doing evil. He burnt Rome down and blamed the Christians. That's when persecution broke out - they were killed, fed to the animals, lit as torches.
This book was written during moderate persecution. He was writing to them to hold on to their faith - don't go back
At that time, if you were being persecuted you are a Christian.
Judaism was a recognized religion. So a Jewish Christian could go back to the synagogues and escape persecution. Gentiles couldn't.
This letter is telling them not to go back to Judaism because what we have in Christ is so great.
The temple, the sacrifices are but a shadow of what is in Christ.
Why settle for the shadow when you have reality in Christ.
Christ is so much superior to everything you have on the Old Testament.
Moses was only a servant in the house. Jesus is the son of God. Prophets were only a mouthpiece. Jesus is the word of God. We can't go back because Christ is far superior.
Take your stand, hold your ground and press on forward.
In what way is Christ superior that we should hold on in time of persecution?
Heb 1:1-4 - In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
This is the most wonderful passage in the Bible.
There is so much truth in this passage.
1. JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD AND THE HEIR OF ALL THINGS
Not only is Jesus the heir but we are the co-heirs with him
Gal 4:7 - So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Your possessions may be confiscated, you may be beaten up but you will share in his glory
2. JESUS IS THE RADIANCE OF GOD'S GLORY
No one can see God. His glory is so much that we cannot see Him. But we can see Him through, Jesus. We see His attributes in Jesus - glory, power, miracles, Grace, etc
John 1:14 – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Paul encountered God's glory on the road to Damascus.
2 The 2:8 - And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
Jesus will destroy the evil one with the breath of his mouth.
3. HE CREATED THE UNIVERSE
Moses did many miracles but Jesus created the universe
John 1:1-4 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
Through Him, all things were made. In Him was life and the life was the light of man.
Scientists talk about the big bang theory. Something came out of nothing! Great minds get foxed at this. People can decode the DNA but can't acknowledge the Creator.
In the first chapter of Genesis, we see that God created the heaven and the Earth. And God said by speaking the word. John tells us that Jesus is the Word of God.
4. JESUS IS THE EXACT REPRESENTATION OF GOD
John 14:8-9 - Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father
5. JESUS SUSTAINS ALL THINGS BY HIS POWERFUL WORD
If we don't look after things, they deteriorate into chaos. Imagine if there were no traffic signals. Jesus sustains all things by His powerful Word.
Col 1:17 – He is before all things and in him all things hold together.
6. HE PROVIDED PURIFICATION FOR OUR SINS
This means Jesus came down to the Earth as a man lived a sinless life, did signs and wonders, then was crucified on a Roman cross.
His blood was shed to pay for my sons and yours too. If we believe this and that He's is the only way then salvation is found in Him.
So we don't need to sacrifice a lamb anymore. Jesus's sacrifice was sufficient for all time.
During the Old Testament time, there was no chair in the temple because the job of the priest is never done.
But Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father because His job was done.
So don't go back to Judaism. Go ahead because this is who Jesus is.
Heb 10:35-38 - So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”[a]
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”[c]
Don't throw away your confidence - you will receive what he has promised.
We entrust ourselves to Jesus. Keep praying and keep going.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.