Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Introduction to The Book of Hebrews

Temple Baptist Church - 9-5-2018

1.  The Epistle to the Hebrews is unique in the New Testament.  Its authorship is not clearly noted in the text. However, the most common assumption of authorship is that of Paul. (The King James Bible even gives Paul’s name in the title.)

Philippians 3:5-6  Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;  (6)  Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.  (Paul was a “Hebrew of the Hebrews.”)

2.  The Epistle is unique in its author.  The Apostle Paul did not sign his name to the epistle because was hated in many circles among the Jews and they would not accept his apostleship: 

a.  Because he converted from Judaism to Christianity, the Pharisees hated him - Acts 9:23-25  And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:  (24)  But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.  (25)  Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

b.  Because he persecuted the church, the Christians feared him -Acts 8:1-3  And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.  (2)  And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.  (3)  As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

c.  In 2 Peter, Peter mentioned a Pauline Epistle written to the “strangers Scattered” which were Jews.

2 Peter 3:15-16  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;  (16)  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

1)  The Jews rejected Christ in John 1:11 but there were some who believed on Him.

2)  In Romans 1:16, Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

d.  Hebrew – the word means to transition or to cross over, a pilgrim.  Abraham was the first Hebrew while Jacob was the first Jew.  Abraham was a Pilgrim who dwelt in tents all his life while looking for a city with foundations whose Maker was God.

Hebrews 11:8-10  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.  (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:  (10)  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

1.  Abraham was the father of Faith - Galatians 3:6-7  Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  (7)  Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  (These “strangers scattered” were children by faith, therefore, children of Abraham the Hebrew.)

Galatians 3:6-7  Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  (7)  Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

2.  As Abraham was a stranger in a strange land, Paul is writing to the dispersed Jews who were also “strangers scattered” among the Gentile people.

e.  The Epistle was written from Italy (Rome). about the time of Paul’s first imprisonment.,

Hebrews 13:24  Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

f.  The Epistle was written before the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. which places it at about the same times as Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome.

Hebrews 10:11  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (Not stood but “standeth daily.”  The priesthood was still making the offerings in the Temple.)

g.  The Epistle also mentions those who were in bonds or prison, Paul among them.

Hebrews 13:3  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with the4m; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

h.  Timothy is mentioned as “he will come shortly.”  Timothy and Titus carried many of the Pauline Epistles to their destinations while Paul was in prison.

Hebrews 13:23  Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

i.  Paul signed the Book of Hebrews with his token signature. Hebrews 13:25  Grace be with you all. Amen.

2 Thessalonians 3:17-18  The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.  (18)  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. The second epistle to the Thessalonians was written from Athens.

3. The epistle is also unique in its purpose.  The Book of Hebrews is one of the Hebrew Christian Epistles and is transitional in nature.  These epistles were Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude.

a.  The Hebrew Christian Epistles, also called the Messianic Jewish Epistles, were written to the dispersed Christian Jews as they wrestled with the change from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.

b.  To understand these Jewish believers’ dilemma, we have to understand their upbringing.  You and I are familiar to the Old Covenant, but these were brought up and drilled each day in it.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:  (5)  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  (6)  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  (7)  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  (8)  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  (9)  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

4.  The reason for God using Paul to write Hebrews was because of his background, a Pharisee of the Pharisees.

a.  The transition from Law to Grace.  The Law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

b.  The transition from the Levitical Priesthood to the individual priesthood of the believer.

c.  The transition from the High Priest (83 app.) to Jesus Christ our High Priest.

d.  The transition from the Brazen Altar to Calvary.

e.  The transition from the daily offerings to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.

f.  The transition from the Temple to the local church.

g.  The transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.  Atonement to Onement!

5.  The Book of Hebrews also confirmed to the Jewish believers that what they had was “better.”  The key word of Hebrews is “better.”

a.  Jesus Christ is better than angels.  People in our day are fascinated with their perception of angels.  “Angel in my Pocket,” Angel Lapel Pins, Guardian Angels, Female Angels, angels of all sorts are worn and worshiped.

Colossians 2:18  Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

b.  Jesus Christ is better than Moses.  Moses, the great Law Giver became an idol of sorts the Jewish people.  He was a great man but Jesus was better.

John 1:17  For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

c.  Jesus Christ is better than Joshua.  Joshua, the great Warrior who took Israel across the Jordan River after the death of Moses.  Joshua is the Old Testament word for Jesus or Saviour.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

d.  Jesus Christ is better than Aaron.  Aaron, the brother of Moses, was one of the greatest of the High Priests and yet he was a man of failure.

Hebrews 7:26  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

e.  The New Covenant is better than the Mosaic Covenant.  The Mosaic Covenant was “do or die” while the new Covenant life eternal.

Hebrews 8:6  But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Hebrews 8:13  In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

f.  The epistle shows the greatness of salvation through Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

6.  Along with its theme of greatness, comes 5 warning sections found within the Epistle.

a.  2:1-4 – Neglecting our Great Salvation

b.  3:7-4:11 – Hardening our Hearts

c.  5:11-6:12 – Dullness of Hearing and Falling Away

d.  10:26-31 – Willful Sin

e.  12:14-29 – Failing of the Grace of God

7.  Hebrews ends with instruction and advice for living a Christian life.

Conclusion:  Next week, we will begin with chapter one.

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