An Argument Of The Book Of HebrewsRelated Media
Because Christ Is Greater In His Person Than Those Of The Old Mosaic Covenant (Angels, Moses & Aaron) And Greater In His Ministry Than Those Of The Levitical Priesthood, The Writer Urges His Readers Not To Persist In Their Sinful Identification With Judaism But To Persevere In Faithfulness Toward Jesus Knowing That God Will Honor Them When He Returns To Fulfill His Promises
I. PROLOGUE--THE SUPERIOR REVELATION OF GOD’S SON:1 God’s Son is qualified to be the superior One through whom God Spoke his final word being revelation from God, the wisdom of God who is creator and sustainer of all things, the revealer of God, and the one who after making purification for sin was exalted above the angels to sit in honor as ruler over all things 1:1-4
A. The Revelation from God’s Son: Although in the past God spoke to the fathers in many portions and in many ways, in the present God has spoken to men in His Son 1:1
1. Past: In the past God spoke to the Fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways 1:1
B. The Work of God’s Son: God appointed His Son to be heir of all things and created the world through His Son 1:2b-c
1. Heir: God appointed His Son to be heir of all things5 1:2b
C. The Nature of God’s Son: God’s Son fully reveals God in His glory and nature, and upholds all things by the word of his might 1:3
1. Reveals God: The Son is the radiance (reflection)8 of God’s glory and the exact representation ( χαρακτὴρ ) of God’s nature 1:3a
2. Upholds All Things:9 The Son upholds ( φέρων ) all things by the word of his power 1:3b
D. The Exalted Position of God’s Son: After God’s Son had made purification for sins, he sat down to rule on high in honor above the angels with the inheritance of a more excellent name than they have 1:4
II. A MOVEMENT TO THE HEART OF THE OLD COVENANT--CHRIST IS GREATER IN HIS PERSON AND HIS MINISTRY THAN THE OLD COVENANT: The writer exhorts his readers to not turn away from Christ because He is greater in His person than those of the old Mosaic covenant (angels, Moses, & Aaron) and greater in his priestly ministry than the Levitical priesthood (being the mediator of a better covenant, the source of eternal salvation and superseding the inadequate Mosaic provisions for sin) 1:5--10:18
A. Christ Is Greater in His Person Than Those of the Old Covenant: The writer exhorts his readers to not turn away from Christ because he is greater in His exaltation than the angelic mediators of the Old Covenant, he is greater as God’s son than God’s servant Moses, and he is greater as a Melchizedekian priest than the Levitical priesthood 1:5--7:28
1. Christ Is Greater Than The Mediators Of The Old Covenant--Angels: The reason that Christ (in his exaltation) has become greater than the angels is because he is their King who was appropriately humiliated below them for a time to die for mankind and then was exalted above them to be the heir of all things, therefore, requiring the readers to pay close attention to the salvific revelation which comes through Him 1:5--2:18
a. Exposition: Because He Is Their King:14 The reason that Christ (in his exaltation) has become greater than the angels is because he is in an exalted relationship with God as the eternal, unchangeable Davidic Son (heir/King) who is to be worshiped by angels, and angles are the transitory, changeable servants of mankind 1:5-14
1) Son vs. Angels: The reason that Christ has become greater than the angels is because he was in an exalted relationship with the Father as the Davidic Son who was chosen and to be worshiped by angels 1:5-6
a) Exalted Name (Relationship):15 The reason that Christ has become greater than the angels is because ( γὰρ ) He is in a father-son relationship with God 1:5
(1) Called His Son: God never called angles His Son whom he has chosen as he did Jesus (Psalm 2:7)16 1:5a
(2) Father to Him: God never told angels that he would be a Father to them and they would be a Son to Him as he did to Jesus (2 Sam. 7:14) 1:5b
b) Exalted Position: The reason that Jesus is greater than the angels is because he is the chosen one whom the angels are to worship 1:6
(1) Chosen One: Jesus is the chosen one (first born)17 brought into the (heavenly) world 1:6a
(2) Worshiped by Angels: All of the angles of God were to worship the chosen one (first born) 1:6b
2) Angels as Ministers vs. Son as Heir:18 Angels are God’s transitory, changeable ministers whereas God’s Davidic heir is eternal and upon an eternal throne 1:7-12
a) Assertion--Angels Are Ministers: God describes angels as His ministers much like the wind and fire19 1:7
b) Argument--Son Is the Eternal, Davidic Heir: In contrast to the angels God’s throne is declared to be eternal as well as His anointed one who will sit on that throne 1:8-12
3) Son--King vs. Angels--Ministering Spirits: In contrast to the Son who is invited to share in God’s rule, angels are ministering spirits sent to serve mankind (those who will inherit salvation) 1:13-14
a) Davidic King:25 God never told any of the angels to sit at his right hand until he makes his enemies are made to be a footstool for his feet as he told Messiah 1:13
b) Exegetical Comment: God never told the angels to be seated as king because they are all ministering spirits sent to render service for those who will inherit salvation 1:14
b. Exhortation/Warning26--Pay Closest Attention to the Revelation through the Son: Because Christ is greater than the angels the writer exhorts himself and the community to pay closest attention to the greater revelation which they have received through Him because they will not escape an appropriate recompense for disobedience in view of that which was paid by those who disobeyed the lessor revelation through angels 2:1-4
1) Exhortation: Because Christ is greater than the angels the writer therefore ( Διὰ ) exhorts himself and his readers that they must pay closest attention to what they have heard27 lest they drift off course28 2:1
2) Reason: The reason ( γὰρ ) they must pay closest attention to what they have heard is because they have a greater salvation through a greater revelation than that which was revealed in the OT and there were severe consequences to those who disobeyed the lesser revelation 2:2-4
b) Present Revelation through the Lord: The community will not escape a just recompense31 if they neglect so a great a salvation which was first spoken (by God) through the Lord Himself and was confirmed (guaranteed) to the community by those32 who heard it from the Lord with God endorsing their witness according to His own will by signs & wonders,33 various miracles,34 and by the distribution of gifts of the Holy Spirit35 2:3-4
c. Exposition--Because of His Ministry in His Humiliation:36 The reason that Christ (in his exaltation) has become greater than the angels is because God did not subject the world to come to the rule of angels but to Jesus, the Son of Man, who was appropriate in his humiliation below the angels for a time to die for all men, and then was exalted over all things 2:5-18
1) Humiliation and Glory of the Son:37 God did not subject the world to come to the rule of angels but to Jesus, the Son of Man, who was humiliated by being made for a time lower than the angels and tasting of death for all men, but was thus exalted as ruler over all things 2:5-9
b) Rule by the Son of Man: Although the Son of Man (Jesus) was humiliated by being temporarily lower than the angels and tasting death for everyone, God exalted him as ruler over all things 2:6-9
(1) Humiliation:40 One wonders why God remembers man or is concerned about the Son of Man (Messiah) since God made him for a little while lower than the angels 2:6-7a
(2) Exaltation: God exalted (the Son of Man--Messiah) by crowning him with glory and honor, appointing Him over the work's of God's hands, and putting all things in subjection under his feet 2:7b-8
(3) Human Experience: Although all things are truly subject to Messiah, believers do not presently see this reality, but they do see Jesus who was humiliated that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone41 and who was crowned with glory and honor 2:9
2) The Identification of the Son with the Human Family Is Appropriate: Jesus is not ashamed to call those whom He consecrates his brethren because He shared their humanity in order that he might deliver them from death by becoming a merciful and faithful high priest who made propitiation for the sins of his people by suffering the test of death so that he might help those who are tested 2:10-18
a) Statement of Solidarity: As the One whom God made perfect through salvific suffering, Jesus does not blush to call those whom he consecrates his brothers as from the same Father 2:10-11
(1) Perfection through Suffering: It was appropriate that God, for whom and through whom everything exists,42 should make perfect43 through suffering the Champion44 who secured the salvation of the many sons being brought to glory45 2:10
(2) All of One Origin--Brothers: The one who consecrates46 human beings and those whom He consecrates are all of one origin (Father),47 therefore, Jesus does not blush to call those whom he consecrates his brothers 2:11
b) Illustrations of Solidarity: The writer of Hebrews proclaims Jesus’ solidarity with men through the images of Davidite and Prophet in that men are his brethren and children 2:12-13
(1) The Davidite to His Brethren: As the Suffering Davidite who has been delivered by the Lord (Psalm 22:22) Jesus promises to praise the Lord to His brethren48 2:12
(2) The Prophet and His Children: As the Lord's prophet (Isa.8:17-18) Jesus proclaims His trust in the Lord along with the children whom God has given to Him49 2:13
c) Implications of Solidarity: Jesus shared the humanity of his brethren in order that He might deliver them from death by becoming a merciful and faithful high priest who made propitiation for the sins of his people by suffering the test of death so that he might help those who are tested 2:14-18
(1) Shared Humanity for Deliverance: Just as children share a mortal human nature, Jesus shared in the humanity of his brethren (unlike angels) in order that He might break the power of the devil who holds death50 and liberate those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death 2:14-16
(2) A Transitionary Conclusion--A Tested High Priest:51 It was essential for Christ to be made like His brethren in every respect in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest to make propitiation (satisfaction) with regard to the sins of the people suffering the test of death in order that He might help those who are being tested52 2:17-18
2. Christ Is Greater Than the Servant--Moses:53 The writer exhorts the readers to consider Jesus as more glorious than Moses because He is God’s Son who is over the readers, therefore, they are not to become rebellious in their unbelief as Israel was under Moses, but to be diligent to enter into God’s sabbath rest through faith in Jesus understanding that Jesus, their high priest, can sympathize with their weakness and give them mercy and grace to help them in their time of need 3:1--4:16
a. Exposition54--Christ is a Faithful Ruler Over Moses: The author exhorts those who are holy and partakers of a heavenly calling to consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of their confession as One who was faithful to God as Moses was, and yet more glorious than Moses because he is the Son over God’s house (tabernacle) which is the readers if they continue in their confidence and hope until the end 3:1-6
1) Introduction of the Comparison Between Moses and Jesus: The author exhorts those who are holy and partakers of a heavenly calling to consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of their confession as One who was faithful to God as Moses was in all of God’s house 3:1-2
a) Consider Jesus--Apostle and High Priest: The author exhorts those who are holy brethren and partakers of a heavenly calling to consider Jesus--the Apostle and High Priest55 of whom their confession speaks 3:1
b) Faithful to God as Was Moses: The author exhorts his readers to consider that Jesus was faithful to God who appointed Him as Moses also was in all of God’s house56 3:2
2) Assertion and Explanation of Jesus’ Superiority to Moses: The reason the brethren should consider Jesus is because He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses who was a faithful servant in the house while was the Son over God’s house 3:3-6a
a) Assertion of Jesus’ Superiority: The reason the brethren should consider Jesus is because He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses just as the builder of the house has more honor than the house, or God has more honor than the universe He created57 3:3-4
3) Relevance of Jesus’ Superiority to Moses for the Congregation: The relevance of Jesus’ superiority to Moses for the congregation is that they are the house60 which He is over if they continue in their confidence and hope until the end61 3:6b
b. Warning/Exhortation Based Upon Israel’s Rebellious Response to God Under Moses--Be Faithful:62 Through the inspired text of Psalm 95 the writer warns the readers against a rebellious unbelief towards God lest they be like rebellious Israel who died without entering into their eschatological rest, and encourages them, in view of the continuing possibility to enter into God’s sabbath rest, to be diligent to enter into it by faith because the word of God will expose their deep (rebellious) motives 3:7--4:13
1) Israel’s Rebellious Unbelief Under Moses: Through the inspired text of Psalm 95 the writer warns the congregation against a rebellious unbelief towards God and exhorts them to encourage each other lest they be like rebellious Israel in Numbers 14 who died without entering into their eschatological rest 3:7-19
a) The Primary Text--Psalm 95:63 Introducing Psalm 95 as that which the Holy Spirit says, the Psalmist warns the congregation against unbelief such as that which prevented their fathers in the wilderness from entering the rest 3:7-11
(1) Introduction:64 The author introduces his text as that which the Holy Spirit says 3:7a
(2) Warning Against Unbelief:65 The psalmist warns the congregation against unbelief such as that which prevented their fathers in the wilderness from entering the rest 3:7b-11
b) An Application and Warning from the Psalm: The writer warns his readers as brothers to take care that they do not have an evil, unbelieving heart, and exhorts them to encourage each other so that they do not become hardened and fall away from the Lord noting that redeemed Israel provoked the Lord with an unbelieving heart and died in the wilderness rather than entering the land 3:12-19
(2) Exhortation to Encourage: the author exhorts them to encourage each other69 ( ἐαυτούς ) in the present time so that they will not be hardened noting that they have become partakers (partners, μέτοχοι ) of Christ if70 they (we) hold fast until the end71 3:13-15
(3) Israel's Evil:72 The writer clarifies that those who provoked the Lord were all who came out of Egypt led by Moses who sinned against Him, whose bodies fell for forty years in the wilderness, and who did not enter the land because of unbelief73 3:16-19
2) Exhortation:74 The writer encourages his readers in view of the continuing possibility to enter into God’s sabbath rest to be diligent to enter into it by faith rather than following Israel’s disobedience because the word of God will expose their deep (rebellious) motives 4:1-13
a) Enter God’s Rest:75 The writer encourages his readers that it is still possible to enter God’s sabbath rest, and that they should be diligent to enter into it by faith rather than following Israel’s example of disobedience 4:1-11
(1) Entering the Rest is Still Possible: In view of Israel's unbelief and her inability to enter into God's rest the writer concludes that they (we) should all fear lest any of them (you) should seem (suppose) to have come short of the promise (to have missed it) because they like Israel had good news76 preached to them but it did not profit Israel because it was not united by faith, but those who have believed77 enter78 into the rest which began after God completed His work of creation 4:1-5
(2) Exhortation to Pursue the Future Rest: The author affirms to his readers that David in Psalm 95 supports the contention that there is still a sabbath rest from one's work to enter into because it was not fulfilled when Joshua entered the land with Israel, thus, they should be diligent to enter that rest and not follow Israel's example of disobedience 4:6-11
b) Reason for Diligence: The reason one should be diligent to enter God’s sabbath rest through faith in Christ is because the word of God79 which pierces deeply into our innermost person is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts laying all things open80 to God (Christ?) 4:12-13
c. Conclusion/Transition--Hold Fast/High Priest:81 The writer exhorts his readers to hold fast to their confession82 with the understanding that Jesus, their high priest, can sympathize with their weakness, and to draw near to His throne of grace in order that they may receive mercy and find grace to help them in their time of need 4:14-16
1) Hold Fast to Our Confession: The writer exhorts his readers to hold fast to their (our) confession since they have Jesus, the Son of God, as a great high priest who has passed through the heavens 4:14
2) Reason To Hold Fast--Sympathetic High Priest: The writer exhorts his readers to hold fast to their confession because ( γὰρ ) their high priest is not one who cannot sympathize with their weaknesses, but is one who can sympathize in that he has been tempted in all things as they (we) are, yet without sin 4:15
3) Draw Near to the Throne of Grace: Therefore ( ου῏ν) the author exhorts his readers to draw near to the throne of grace in order that ( ι῞να) they may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need83 4:16
3. Exposition--Christ is Greater than the Human Priest Aaron: In the context of warning his readers to be responsible as adults and not to fall away from Jesus, the writer demonstrates that Jesus is not only qualified as a high priest, but is a greater high priest in accordance with the priesthood of Melchizedek than those of the Levitical priesthood 5:1--7:28
a. Exposition84--Christ is Qualified as One Similar to the Earthly High Priest: Christ is qualified as a high priest similar to the earthly high priest because he was one in solidarity with people, chosen by God and provided salvation for people from their sins 5:1-10
1) Man As High Priest: In the human order of high priest a man does not take the honor of the office to himself but is chosen by God from among men, and appointed as one beset with weaknesses to deal gently with the people and offer gifts and sacrifices for sins of the people and himself 5:1-4
a) Old Office--Source of Temporal Salvation: Every high priest must be taken from among men and appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins 5:1
(1) A Man from Men: The reason ( γὰρ ) one may find help from Jesus as a high priest is because85 every high priest must be taken from among men and be appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God 5:1a
(2) Purpose: Every high priest is taken and appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins86 5:1b
b) Solidarity with People: Since the high priest is beset with weaknesses, he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided sins of the people and is obligated to offer sacrifices for the people and himself 5:2-3
(1) Beset with Weaknesses: Since the high priest is beset with weaknesses he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided87 5:2
(2) Offers Sacrifices for Sins: Because of their mutual sin, the high priest is obligated to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people and for himself88 5:3
c) Humility--Called by God: No one takes the honor of high priest to himself, but receives it when he is called by God even as Aaron was89 5:4
2) Christ As High Priest:90 As with the human priest Christ did not glorify Himself but was called by God, was in solidarity with the people as One who prayed to God and learned obedience through suffering, and became the source of salvation for all those who obey him as a priest according to the order of Melchizedek 5:5-10
a) Humility--Called by God: As with the human high priest, Christ did not glorify Himself as high priest but was called by God in accordance with Psalm 110 where God proclaimed Him to be His chosen Son and a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek 5:5-6
(1) Did Not Glorify Himself: As with the human high priest, Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become high priest 5:5a
(2) God Chose Christ: Christ was chosen by God to be high priest in accordance with Psalms 2 & 110 where God proclaimed Him to be His Son whom He has chosen (begotten)91 and where he proclaimed him to be a priest92 forever according to the order of Melchizedek 5:5b-6
b) Solidarity with People:93 During the time of Jesus’ incarnation he earnestly prayed to God and was heard by God because of his piety and learned obedience, even though a Son of God, from the things which He suffered 5:7-8
(1) Prayed During His Earthly Life: During the time of Jesus' incarnation (His flesh) He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save him from death and was heard because of his piety 5:7
(2) Learned Obedience through Suffering: Although Jesus was a Son to God, he learned obedience from the things which He suffered94 5:8
c) New Office--Source of Eternal Salvation: When Jesus became perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him as a priest which God designated according to the order of Melchizedek 5:9-10
(1) Perfect Source of Salvation: When Jesus became perfect,95 he became the source of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him 5:9
(2) Melchizedekian Order: Jesus was designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek 5:10
b. Warning--Inability to Hear of Melchizedek Due to Immaturity: Though the writer shames his readers to assume responsibility as adults and to not fall away from Christ, he urges them to press on to maturity (and is confident that they will) through holding fast to the certain hope of salvation through Jesus as they look toward their reward from God who is faithful to His promise 5:11--6:20
1) Exhortation--The Peril of Spiritual Immaturity:96 Although the writer shames his readers to assume responsibility as mature adults to leave the essentials about Christ standing and to press on to maturity knowing that it is impossible for them to repent once that have fallen away from Christ and that they will experience severe consequences for their rebellion, he is convinced of better things from them as they look toward their reward for their diligent work which they should continue 5:11--6:12
a) Shaming to Assume Responsibility: The writer affirms that there is much to say concerning the priesthood of Christ and it is difficult to explain because the readers have become sluggish in understanding being like children who need to have the basics given to them again rather than like the adults who understand moral righteousness 5:11-14
(1) Sluggish in Understanding: There is much to say concerning the priesthood of Christ in its totality and it is a difficult (complex) matter to explain because the readers have become sluggish in understanding 5:11
(2) A Rebuke through Irony: The reason the writer identifies the readers as being sluggish in understanding is because by this time in their Christian lives they ought to be teachers but they need again for someone to explain the elementary principles (ABCs) of the oracles of God like children who need milk rather than adults who need solid food in that they are not accustomed to moral righteousness (the word of righteousness)97--they are not trained to discern good and evil 5:12-14
b) Warning: The writer urges the readers to leave the foundational elements about Christ standing and to press on to maturity knowing that it is impossible for them to repent once that have fallen away from Christ and that they will experience severe consequences for their rebellion; nevertheless the writer is convinced of better things from them as they look toward their reward for their diligent work which they should continue 6:1-12
(1) Press On to Maturity: Therefore ( Διὸ) the author urges the readers to leave standing the ABCs about Christ98 and to press on to maturity--not laying again a soteriological foundation, not teaching again about washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment99 6:1-2
(2) They Will Press On: The writer affirms that they will press on to maturity (with the discussion about Christ's Melchizedekian priesthood) if the Lord allows them to (with His blessing) 6:3
(3) The Impossibility of Repentance: The reason the writer says that they will press on to maturity if the Lord allows them to is because it is impossible100 for those who have once101 been enlightened, tasted of the heavenly gift, been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasted102 of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then who have fallen away,103 to renew them again to repentance because they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to public humiliation104 6:4-6
(4) Sever Judgment as Upon the Ground: The writer explains ( γὰρ) his warning about the impossibility of repentance through the imagery of ground which receives God's blessing of rain and then receives either blessing from God for bringing forth useful vegetation or a burning that is close to being cursed105 for yielding thorns and thistles (cf. Gen. 3:17-18) 6:7-8
(5) Convinced of Better Things: Although the writer is speaking of possible sever judgment for apostasy, he affirms that they are convinced of better things concerning them (cf. 6:1-3)--those things that accompany salvation106 6:9
(6) God Will Not Forget Their Diligent Work Which They Should Continue:107 The writer affirms--in view of the certainty that God will not forget their work and love which they have shown toward His name in having ministered and still ministering to the saints108--that he desires for each of them to show the same diligence unto the end so as to realize their future hope, not being sluggish (cf. 5:11b), but being imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (cf. 6:13-20; 13:7) 6:10-12
2) Exposition of the Promise--A Basis for Steadfastness: Because God made a certain promise to Abraham by swearing by Himself, Abraham obtained it by patiently waiting, and believers should also hold fast to the certain hope of salvation which is placed before them in Jesus 6:13-20
a) Abraham’s Faith in the Promise: An explanation ( γὰρ ) of “those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” is found in Abraham because when God made the promise to Abraham that He would bless and multiply him, He swore by Himself109 and Abraham obtained the promise by patiently waiting110 6:13-15
b) Relevance of Abraham’s Faith for Readers:111 The relevance of Abraham’s faith is that God’s oath is even more certain than that made by men resulting in a the certainty of hope of salvation in Jesus which believers should hold fast to 6:16-20
(1) The Nature of Human Oaths: The writer explains ( γὰρ) the reliability of oaths in that men swear by someone greater than themselves,112 and the oath serves as confirmation and puts an end to all argument 6:16
(2) The Certainty of God's Oath: Because God wanted to make especially plain to the heirs of his promise the irrevocable character of his resolve, he confirmed it by means of an oath,113 so that by two irrevocable facts114 in which it is impossible for God to lie, the readers (we) who had fled (to God) for refuge might have strong incentive to hold fast to the hope which is placed in front of them 6:17-18
(3) The Certainty of the Hope of Salvation: The readers (we) have this hope which is placed in front of them as a safe and secure anchor for life which (hope)115 enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain116 where Jesus has entered on their behalf as forerunner, having become a priest forever, just like Melchizedek117 6:19-20
c. Exposition--Order of Christ (Melchizedek) Is Greater Than Levi: The new priesthood of Christ in accordance with the order of Melchizedek is greater than the old priesthood through Levi both in its inception in Genesis 14:17-20 and in its prophetic expression through Psalm 110:4 in that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham, and Jesus as the eternal Son has brought about a new, permanent and effective priesthood able to bring men close to God 7:1-28
1) An Interpretation of Genesis 14:17-20:118 The writer of Hebrews introduces his readers to Melchizedek, the king of righteousness and peace who met Abraham, received a tenth from Abraham and blessed Abraham as his superior thereby showing that he was a superior priest than the Levitical priesthood which came from Abraham 7:1-10
a) An Introduction of Melchizedek who Blessed Abraham:119 Melchizedek--the king of righteousness and peace--met Abraham as Abraham was returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him whereupon Abraham gave one tenth of his spoils of war to this one who was not part of the genealogical line of blessing, but like the son of God, remains a priest continuously 7:1-3
(1) The Meeting and Blessing: Melchizedek--king of Salem, priest of the Most high God, met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him 7:1
(2) The Tithe: Abraham gave one tenth of his spoils from war to Melchizedek120 whose name means king of righteousness and whose title (king of Salem) means king of peace and who is without a genealogical tie in Genesis,121 but being like the Son of God, he remains a priest continuously122 7:2-3
b) The Significance of Melchizedek’s Encounter with Abraham--A Superior Priesthood to Levi: The writer urges the readers to consider the greatness of Melchizedek in that he was greater than Levi because he received the tenth from Abraham without being a descendent of Abraham and without the commandment of the Law, he blessed Abraham as the one greater than Abraham, he lives on whereas the Levitical priesthood is mortal, and Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham 7:4-10
(1) Consider His Greatness: The writer urges the readers to consider how great this man (Melchizedek) was to whom Abraham, the patriarch,123 gave a tenth of the choicest spoils 7:4
(2) Received a Tenth: Although those of the sons of Levi receive the priest's offering of a tenth in accordance with the commandment in the Law from the people (their brethren who are descended from Abraham, Melchizedek, who is not a descendent, collected a tenth from Abraham 7:5-6a
(3) Blessed Abraham: Melchizedek blessed Abraham even though he was the one with the promises in accordance with the undisputed fact that the lesser is bless ed by the greater 7:6b-7
(4) Lives On: In the case of the Levitical priests mortal men (with a series of successors) receive tithes, but in the case of Melchizedek and his priesthood he lives on124 7:8
(5) Levi Paid Melchizedek: One might also say125 that even Levi, who received the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because Levi was still in the body of his ancestor when Melchizedek met Abraham 7:9-10
2) The Significance of Psalm 110:4:126 The rising of a new priesthood according to Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4) through Jesus demonstrates that the old Levitical priesthood was insufficient to bring about perfection, but that the new, permanent and effective priesthood through Christ is a better hope for drawing near to God 7:11-28
a) The Insufficiency of the Levitical Priesthood and System: The rising of a new priesthood according to Melchizedek through Jesus (of the line of Judah) demonstrates that the old Levitical priesthood was insufficient to bring about perfection, but the new priesthood brings about a better hope for drawing near to God 7:11-19
(1) The Replacement of the Levitical Priesthood by Jesus: The writer of Hebrews affirms that the rising of a priest according to the order of Melchizedek demonstrates that the Levitical priesthood was not sufficient to bring about perfection, and that Jesus has become such a replacement priesthood because he is not a priest according to Levi (being from Judah),127 but became a priest forever according to Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4) in accordance with His indestructible life128 7:11-17
(2) The New Hope with the New Priesthood: The writer explains that while there is on the one hand a replacement of a former (priestly) commandment (cf. 7:16) because of its weakness and uselessness to make anything perfect, there is a bringing in of a better hope through which they (we) draw near to God129 7:18-19
b) The Permanence and Effectiveness of the New Priesthood: Jesus is shown to be a superior priest than the Levitical priests because God made an oath to Him, he holds his priesthood permanently, he has an upright character, he has achieved a final sacrifice for sins, and he has been appointed a Son made perfect forever 7:20-28
(1) The Superiority of Priesthood Illustrated: Jesus is demonstrated to have a better priesthood than the Levitical priesthood because God has made an oath to him (Psalm 110:4) and because he holds his priesthood permanently (as one who lives forever) begin able to save those forever who draw near to God through him 7:20--25
(2) The Character, Achievement, and Status of the Son as Eternal and Final High Priest: The writer explain that it is fitting for them (we) to have such an exalted high priest with an upright character (holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens), who achieved a permanent sacrifice (when he once for all offered up Himself for sins), and who was appointed a Son made perfect forever 7:26-28
B. Christ’s Ministry Is Greater Than the Ministry of the Old Covenant--Aaron:130 The writer demonstrates Christ’s singular qualification as high priest in the heavenly sanctuary because He is a ministering priest and mediator of a better covenant through His death and exaltation being the source of eternal salvation for those who obey him thereby superseding the inadequate Mosaic provisions for sin 8:1--10:18
1. Christ as Ministering Priest and Mediator of a Better Covenant--Introduced:131 Christ is a superior high priest to the earthly priests because he has taken his seat of authority in heaven, is a ministering priest of the heavenly sanctuary, and is the mediator of a new and better covenant which will unite God and man and cause the obsolete and dated (Mosaic) covenant to disappear * 8:1-13*
a. Christ the Ministering Priest: Unlike earthly priests who offer gifts and sacrifices in a sanctuary which is a shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, the writer affirms that Christ is a superior high priest in that He has taken his seat of authority in heaven and is a ministering priest of the heavenly sanctuary in the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched 8:1-5
1) A New Ministry by the King-Priest in Heaven:132 The crowning affirmation of what the writer (we) has been saying (about the superiority Christ’s Priesthood) is that they have a high priest who has taken his seat of authority133 in heaven Who is the ministering priest of the sanctuary of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, not man 8:1-2
2) A Ministry In Opposition to the Old: Since a high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, Christ too had to necessarily have something to offer as high priest, but he is not priest on earth since earthly priests offer gifts prescribed by the Law in a sanctuary which Moses made to the pattern shown him as a suggestion of the heavenly sanctuary 8:3-5
a) The Necessity to Offer Something: The writer affirms that since every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, therefore, Christ too had to necessarily have something to offer134 8:3
b) Not an Earthly Ministry: If Christ were on earth he would not be a priest since earthly priests offer gifts prescribed by the law serving in a sanctuary that is a shadowy suggestion135 of the heavenly sanctuary136 even as Moses made it in accordance to the pattern shown to him on the mountain137 8:4-5
b. Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant: The ministry which Jesus has attained is superior to that of the earthly priests because he is the mediator of a superior covenant which is drawn up on better promises that were not contingent upon Israel’s obedience, but His word to make the Law internal, to be in close relationship with them, that all will know Him as gracious causing the obsolete and dated (Mosaic) covenant to disappear 8:6-13
1) The New Ministry Is Associated with a better Covenant: The ministry which Jesus has attained is superior to that of the earthly priests in the same way as the covenant which he is the mediator is superior to the old one (Mosaic) being drawn up on the basis of better promises 8:6
2) The Better Covenant in Opposition to the Old:138 The writer affirms that the first covenant was not found faultless because God said He would establish a new covenant with them unlike the one where they were unfaithful and He turned away, but one where He will make the Law internal, where they will be in close relationship with Him, and where all will know him as a gracious God causing the obsolete and dated one to disappear 8:7-13
a) First Covenant Not Faultless: The writer affirms that if the first covenant had not been irreproachable, there would have been no occasion sought for a second 8:7
b) Reason God Found Fault: God finds fault with the first covenant when he says to Israel that he will establish a new covenant with them unlike the one where they were unfaithful and He turned away from them, but one where He will put His laws in their heart and mind, where they will be in close relationship with Him, and where all will know the Lord who is gracious 8:8-12
(1) Establish a New Covenant: God finds fault with the first covenant when he says to Israel that the time is coming when he will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah 8:8
(2) Israel Was Unfaithful and God Turned Away: God finds fault with the first covenant when he says to Israel that the new covenant will not be like the covenant He made with their forefathers when He led them by the hand out of Egypt because they did not remain faithful to His covenant and He turned away from them 8:9
(3) Laws in Their Hearts and Minds: God finds fault with the first covenant when he says to Israel that this new covenant which he will make with them after that time is one where He will put His laws in their minds and inscribe them on their hearts, where he will be their God and they will be His people 8:10
(4) All Will Know the Lord Who Is Gracious: God finds fault with the first covenant when he says to Israel that in this new covenant no one will any longer teach his fellow-citizen or his brother to "know the Lord" because they will all know him because He will be gracious toward their iniquities and will never again remember their sins 8:11-12
c) Obsolete and Will Disappear: When the Lord calls this covenant “new” he treated the first covenant as obsolete, meaning that it will soon disappear as obsolete and outdated139 8:13
2. Christ as Ministering Priest and Mediator of a Better Covenant--Developed: While the earlier covenant was shown to be unable to bring decisive purgation through its repeated cultic worship, the New Covenant, though ratified in kind with the Old Covenant, was heightened in that Christ offered Himself in the heavenly sanctuary as the definitive sacrifice on behalf of us to bring about absolute purgation so that we may worship God and He may return as Savior rather than eschatological judge for those who eagerly wait for him 9:1-28
a. Cultic Worship--Developed: The first covenant had an earthly sanctuary with a Holy place where the priests ministered, and a Most Holy Place where the High Priest ministered but through this the Holy Spirit was showing that the way into the real sanctuary had not yet been disclosed illustrating that the present gifts and sacrifices were unable to bring decisive purgation to the worshiper with respect to his conscience but only continued cultic service 9:1-10
1) Introductory Statement: The first covenant had regulations for cultic worship and an earthly sanctuary140 9:1
2) Arrangement of the Tabernacle: In the front compartment of the tabernacle, called the Holy Place, were the lampstand and the table with the consecrated bread and in the back compartment of the tabernacle, called the Most Holy Place, were the golden alter of incense, the gold-covered ark of the covenant in which were the gold jar containing the manna, Aaron’s rod that had blossomed and the stone tablets of the covenant, with the cherubim of the Glory overshadowing the place of atonement, concerning which things the writer is not able to speak in detail 9:2-5
b) Back Compartment: In the back compartment of the tabernacle behind the second curtain, called the Most Holy Place
( ῞Αγια ῾Αγὶων ), were the golden altar of incense,143 the gold-covered ark of the covenant144 in which were the gold jar containing the manna, Aaron’s rod that had blossomed, and the stone tablets of the covenant,145 with cherubim of the Glory overshadowing the place of atonement146 9:3-5a
c) Transition:147 The writer is not able to speak in detail about these things 9:5b
3) Regulations for Cultic Worship: When the tabernacle was arranged as was described above, and the priests and High Priest ministered the Holy Spirit was showing that the way into the real sanctuary had not yet been disclosed illustrating that the present gifts and sacrifices were unable to bring decisive purgation to the worshiper with respect to his conscience but only continued cultic service 9:6-10
a) Functions of the Priest and High Priest: When the tabernacle was arranged as it was described above, the priests continually entered the front compartment performing their ritual functions, but the High Priest entered the rear compartment only once a year with blood for himself and the sins of the people which were committed in ignorance 9:6-7
(1) The Priests: When the tabernacle was arranged as it was described above, then the priests continually entered the front compartment as they performed their ritual functions148 9:6
(2) The High Priest: Only the High Priest entered the rear compartment and that was only once a year, and never without blood which he offered first for himself and also for the sins the people had committed in ignorance149 9:7
b) Undisclosed Way, Indecisive Purgation: Through the ministry of the priests and the High Priest the Holy Spirit was showing that the way into the real sanctuary had not yet been disclosed illustrating that the present gifts and sacrifices were unable to bring decisive purgation to the worshiper with respect to his conscience but only continued cultic service 9:8-10
(1) Way in to the Real Sanctuary--Not Disclosed: The Holy Spirit was showing through the ministry of the priests and High Priest that the way into the real sanctuary had not yet been disclosed while the first compartment had cultic status 9:8
(2) Present Gifts and Sacrifices Do not Purge: This desert sanctuary is an illustration demonstrating that the present gifts and sacrifices being offered are unable to bring decisive purgation to the worshiper with respect to his conscience, but only continued cultic service (food and drink, various ceremonial washings, regulations pertaining to the human order) imposed until the time of correction 9:9
b. New Covenant--Developed: Although the New Covenant was ratified in kind with the pattern of the Old Covenant, the degree of ratification was heightened in that Christ offered Himself in the heavenly sanctuary as the definitive sacrifice on behalf of us to bring about absolute purgation so that we may worship God and he may return as Savior rather than eschatological judge for those who eagerly wait for him 9:11-28
1) The Character of the New Cultus: In contrast to the arrangements under the old cultus Christ appeared as high priest of eschatological redemption entering into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary not with the blood of goats and bulls which brought fleshly purgation, but with His own blood which brought a cleansing of the conscience so that we may worship God 9:11-14
a) Secures Eschatological Redemption: In contrast to the arrangements under the old cultus ( δὲ ) Christ appeared as high priest of eschatological redemption (the good things that have now come) entering into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary bringing eternal redemption by means of his own blood (rather than that of the old cultus [goats and calves]) 9:11-12
b) Provision of a Purged Conscience: If the blood of the old cultus (goats and bulls) provided a fleshly purgation, the blood of Christ purges the conscience from sins that lead to death so that we may worship God 9:13-14
(1) Purging of the Flesh: The blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkled ashes of a heifer those who have been ceremonially defiled to the extent of the purging of the flesh150 9:13
(2) Purging of the Conscience: The blood of Christ151 purges our conscience152 from the acts that lead to death, so that we may worship the living God seeing that Christ offered Himself through the eternal Spirit153 as an unblemished sacrifice to God 9:14
2) The Basis of Christ’s High Priestly Achievement: Because of Christ’s high priestly work whereby he entered heaven as the definitive sacrifice for our sins He ratified the New covenant in order that those who are called might not experience Him as eschatological judge, but Savior who brings the promised eternal inheritance 9:15-28
a) Christ vs. Old Cultus: Because of Christ’s high priestly work through His death (which was necessary to ratify the New Covenant as with the Mosaic Covenant) He is mediator of a New Covenant in order that those who are called might receive the promised eternal inheritance 9:15-22
(1) Conclusion--Mediator of a New Covenant: Because of Christ's high priestly work through His death He is the mediator of a New Covenant in order that those who are called might receive the promised eternal inheritance154 9:15
(2) Parenthetic Explanation of the Necessity of Christ's Death--Basic Principle: The author explains (γὰρ) that it was necessary for Christ to die because where there is a covenant, it is necessary for the death of one who ratifies it to be brought forward155 because a covenant is made legally secure on the basis of the sacrificial victims (sacrifices), and is never valid while the ratifier lives156 9:16-17
(3) Principle Operative in Former Covenant: The writer affirms that even the former covenant (Mosaic) was confirmed by blood (death) when Moses157 took the blood of calves together with water, crimson wool and sprigs of hyssop and sprinkled the book of the Law (covenant), all the people, the tabernacle, and all the cultic vessels with blood because everything is purged with blood according to the Law and without the application of blood there is no definitive purgation 9:18-22
b) Christ’s Heavenly Priestly Ministry: Just as the earthly suggestions required purgation, so did the heavenly things, but through a greater sacrifice of Christ Himself who entered heaven with His definitive sacrifice with the result that he will not come as eschatological Judge but Savior for those who eagerly wait for Him 9:23-28
(1) A Better Sacrifice for Heavenly Things: In view of the need for definitive purgation through the application of blood it was necessary, therefore, for the earthly suggestions of the heavenly things to be purged by these things (the blood of calves and goats) but the heavenly things required better sacrifices158 9:23
(2) Christ Entered Heaven with His Definitive Sacrifice: The writer explains the heavenly things and Christ's better sacrifice as Christ entering the Sanctuary of heaven itself to appear in the presence of God on our behalf with an offering which was not for Himself as is repeatedly done by the high priest, but with His once for all sacrifice at the climax of the ages 9:24-26
(3) Not Eschatological Judge but Savior: Just as it is reserved for men to die once and then to experience judgment, so also will Christ appear a second time, after having been offered once to bear the sin of many,159 not as judge (for sin) but to bring [the consummation of] salvation to those who are eagerly waiting for Him160 9:27-28
3. The Subjective Benefits of Christ’s Sacrifice--Its efficacy for Christians: The writer explains that the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice are that it supersedes the inadequate Mosaic Provisions for sin because He yielded His body in place of sacrifices, His sacrifice was definitive, and because the New Covenant (inaugurated through Jesus’ sacrifice) rendered a sacrifice for sin no longer necessary since the Lord no longer deals with His people according to their sins and transgressions 10:1-18
a. Mosaic Provisions for Repeated Sacrifices Are Inadequate: The writer explains that the Mosaic provisions for repeated sacrifices are inadequate because they are only a foreshadowing of the good things to come, they are a continual reminder of sins, and they cannot take away sins 10:1-4
1) Law Cannot Decisively Purge: The writer explains that the Law can never decisively purge those who draw near by repeated sacrifices since it posses only a foreshadowing of the good things which are to come and is not the actual form of those realities161 10:1
2) Law is a Reminder of Sins: The writer explains that since the legal sacrifices did not cease to be offered with the sense that the worshipers were once cleansed having no consciousness of sins,162 these sacrifices are really a reminder of sins year after year163 10:2-3
3) Cultic Sacrifices Cannot Take Away Sins: The writer explains that the sacrifices do not provide a decisive purgation is because ( γὰρ ) it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins 10:4
b. Repeated Sacrifices Have Been Superseded by the One Sacrifice of Christ: The writer explains that the repeated sacrifices have been superseded by the one sacrifice of Christ in that He yielded His body in place of sacrifices which resulted in a doing away with Mosaic sacrificial system and a consecration of believers 10:5-10
1) Yields His Body in Place of Sacrifices: Speaking as the Davidite Jesus fulfills David’s words when He comes into the world by proclaiming from Psalm 40 that God preferred His body to sacrifice and that He yielded His life to do the will of the Lord 10:5-7
a) Jesus Speaks As the Davidite: The writer identifies Jesus as the Davidite who fulfills David’s words when He comes into the world (incarnation)164 and speaks Psalm 40:6-8 10:5a
b) God Preferred His Body to Sacrifice: Jesus as the Davidite proclaims that God preferred his body to sacrifice (offering, whole burnt offerings, sin offerings) 10:5b-6
c) Jesus as the Davidite yields his life to do the will of the Lord 10:7
(1) Dedicates His Body: Jesus dedicates His body to Lord
(2) Direction from the Scroll: Jesus receives direction from the volume of the book
(3) Jesus desires to do the will ( θέλημά ) of the Lord
2) Jesus’ Sacrifice Does Away with Mosaic Sacrifices: The writer explains that through Jesus’ identification with the words of Psalm 40 that the Mosaic sacrificial order was done away with in order to confirm (judicially) the validity of His bodily sacrifice165 10:8-9
3) Jesus’ Sacrifice Consecrates: By Christ doing the will of God (“that will, θελήματι”) the writer affirms that they have been consecrated (sanctified, ἡγισμὲνοι ) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all 10:10
c. Levitical Priests Have Been Superseded by the One Priest Enthroned at God’s Right Hand: The writer explains that the Levitical priests who continue in their ineffective ministry are superseded by Jesus who offered a definitive sacrifice, is enthroned at God’s right hand, and decisively purged those who are being consecrated 10:11-14
1) Continual ineffective Ministry of Levitical Priests: Every Priest continually performs his priestly service and offerings of sacrifices which can never remove sin utterly 10:11
2) Effective Ministry of Jesus: In contrast to the Levitical priests, Jesus, as priest, offered for all time once sacrifice for sins, sat down166 at God’s right hand waiting until his enemies are forced to submit (made his footstool),167 and decisively purged forever those who are being consecrated 10:12-14
d. New Covenant Provisions Render a Sacrifice for Sins No Longer Necessary: The writer confirms that the Holy Spirit testifies that the New covenant provisions render a sacrifice for sins no longer necessary because part of the new covenant is that the Lord will no longer deal with His people according to their sins and transgressions 10:15-18
1) Holy Spirit Testifies: The writer notes that the Holy Spirit testifies168 concerning the decisive purging through Jeremiah 31:33-34 10:15
2) New Covenant Provisions: The Holy Spirit testifies through Jeremiah 21:33-34 that the Lord will make a new covenant with His people after that time wherein He will internalize His Law and not deal with them (remember) any longer according to their sins and transgressions169 10:16-17
3) The writer explains that were there is a decisive putting away of sins and transgressions (“these”) that an offering for sin is no longer necessary170 10:18
III. EXHORTATIONS IN VIEW OF THE SUPERIORITY OF CHRIST AND HIS MINISTRY TO THE OLD COVENANT:171 In view of the superiority of Christ and His ministry when compared to that of the Old Covenant, the writer urges his readers not to persist in sin but to persevere in faithfulness to God by loving one another, being personally pure, obeying their leaders and leaving Judaism, because the past shows that God honors such faithfulness and will honor them when He returns to fulfill His promises 10:19--13:21
A. Warning--Exhortation to Endure:172 In view of their privileged status with God and their earlier faithfulness under persecution, the writer exhorts his readers not to persist in sin so that they must experience the avenging hand of God, but to persevere in faithfulness to God so that they might receive their promised reward of eschatological salvation rather than rejection when the Lord returns 10:19-39
1. A Reminder of Privileged Status and Its Implications for Practice: The privileged status of believers to have free access to the heavenly sanctuary and to have Christ as the great priest in charge of their church leads to the implications that they should draw near to God, hold fast to their hope of future salvation and not forsake one another, but encourage one another to love and good works, especially as they see the approaching of the time when the Lord will return in salvation and judgment (the Day of the Lord) 10:19-25
a. Basis for the Appeal: The writer is about to make an appeal to the readers based upon two conclusions from the above discussion: (1) believers have free access to the Heavenly Sanctuary through Christ’s death, and (2) Jesus is High Priest in charge of God’s household 10:19-21
1) Authorization for Free Access to the Heavenly Sanctuary: The writer affirms as a conclusion to the above discussion that the brethren have authorization for free access to the heavenly sanctuary through a way that is new and leads to life which Jesus made available to us by means of His death 10:19-20
2) Great Priest in Charge of God’s Household: The writer affirms that believers have a great high priest in charge of God’s household (the Church)173 10:21
b. The Appeal:174 In view of the brethren’s access to the heavenly sanctuary and Jesus as the great priest in charge of the church the writer exhorts the community to draw near to God, hold fast to their hope of eschatological salvation and to keep on caring for one another by stimulating love and good works 10:22-24
1) Draw Near:175 The writer exhorts the community (let us) to draw near to God with a sincere heart,176 in fullness of faith, and seeing that they have been completely cleansed (internally and externally)177 10:22
2) Hold Fast: The writer exhorts the community (let us) to hold fast the hope (of eschatological salvation) without wavering because the One who gave the promise is faithful 10:23
3) Keep on Caring: The writer exhorts the community (let us) to keep on caring for one another so as to stimulate love and good works178 10:24
c. Transitional Warning: The writer warns the community against discontinuing their meeting together (as some are regularly doing), but to encourage one another especially as they see the approaching of the time when the Lord will return in salvation and judgment (the Day of the Lord) 10:25
2. A Severe Warning Concerning Apostasy and Its Divine Punishment:179 The writer warns his readers that if they deliberately persist in sin against the Lord by violating Christ that He, as the avenging God, will bring severe punishment upon them as His people 10:26-31
a. Deliberate Persistence in Sin Yields Judgment: The writer explains that he desire for them to heed his admonitions because ( γὰρ ) if they (we) deliberately persist180 in sin after their (we) having received the full knowledge of the truth (of salvation), then there is no longer any sacrifice for sins,181 but only an inevitable terrifying expectation of judgment and of raging fire ready to consume God’s adversaries182 10:26-27
b. Severe Punishment for Violating Christ: The writer notes that while those who violated the law of Moses died, those who Violate Christ will deserve a severer punishment 10:28-29
2) Violation of Christ Deserves Severer Punishment: The writer notes (through a question) that the one who rejects Christ and His provision for him (trampled upon the Son of God,185 treated as defiled the blood of the covenant by which he was consecrated,186 and insulted the Spirit of grace187) will deserve a severer punishment188 10:29
c. The Lord Will Bring Vengeance upon His People:189 The writer explains that the Lord will bring a severe judgment upon those who reject Christ and His provisions for them because He is a God of vengeance who will repay evil--even of His people, and it is terrifying to fall into the hands of the living God 10:30-31
3. Pastoral Encouragement and an Eschatological Appeal: Reminding the readers of their earlier faithfulness under persecution, the writer urges them not to throw away their faithfulness but to endure so that they might receive the promise of eschatological salvation when the Lord returns rather than rejection 10:32-35
a. Pastoral Encouragement:190 The writer reminds his readers of their earlier days when they endured sufferings with cheerfulness knowing that they had better and permanent rewards and thus urges them not to throw away their boldness since it has great reward 10:32-35
1) Situation: The writer urges his readers to remember those earlier days (of their faith) after they received the light191 when they endured a hard contest192 with sufferings--sometimes publicly exposed to ridicule by insults and persecutions and showing solidarity with those who were treated in this way 10:32-33
2) Call to Rejoice: The writer explains to his readers what he means by their showing solidarity with those who were treated in this way by reminding them of how they shared the sufferings of those in prison and cheerfully accepted the seizure of their property 10:34a
3) Reason (Promise of Reward): The reason the readers cheerfully accepted the seizure of their property was because they knew that they themselves had better and permanent possessions, therefore, they should not throw away their boldness193 seeing that it has a great reward 10:34b-35
b. Eschatological Appeal:194 The writer exhorts his readers to endurance that they may receive the promise of eschatological salvation noting that they Lord is coming and they should live by faithfulness rather than drawing back and being rejected, whereupon, the writer expresses his confidence that His readers are those who are faithful 10:36-39
1) An Exhortation to Endurance: The author exhorts the readers that they need endurance ( ὑπομονή ) so that after they have done the will of God they may receive the promise (of eschatological salvation)195 10:36
2) The Lord is Coming; Live by Faithfulness: The writer affirms that the reason they must endure is because ( γὰρ ) the Coming One will come in a little while196 and he will not delay, but in the mean time His righteous one will live by faithfulness197 and if he draws back the Lord Himself will reject him 10:37-38
3) Not Those Who Draw Back, But Are Faithful: The write assures his readers that they (we) are not of those who draw back leading to destruction, but of those who are faithful, culminating in the acquisition of life 10:39
B. Means of Endurance--Faith:198 Because of the value of faith the writer affirms that men in the past received attestation from God in Scripture and thus urges his readers to recognize that this standard of persevering faith is worthy of emulation based upon hope in God’s promise 11:1-40
1. A Recommendation of Faith: Because faith represents the objective reality of blessings for which we hope and the demonstration of events as yet unseen, men of the past received attestation from God; and this faith is demonstrated in our understanding of the unseen creative activity of God behind the visible universe 11:1-2
a. The Recommendation of Faith:199 Faith is (represents) the assurance (objective reality) of things [blessings] for which we hope, and the conviction (demonstration) of things (events) as yet unseen 11:1
b. The Effect of Faith: Because ( γὰρ ) of this character of faith (above) men of the past ( πρεσβύτεροι ) received attestation (approval, ἐμαρτυρήθησαν ) from God 11:2
c. Creation:200 The writer affirms that by faith we understand201 that the universe was ordered by the word (ῥήματι) of God202 so that what is seen was not brought into being from anything observable 11:3
2. The Example of Faithfulness in Those Who Have Preceded Them: The writer urges his readers to recognize in those who acted upon God’s promises, even though fulfillment was not in sight, a standard of persevering faith worthy of emulation based upon hope in God’s promise 11:4-40
a. Events and Personages Drawn from Scripture in Chronological Order from Genesis 1--Joshua 6:203 11:3-31
1) Triumphs of Perseverance in the Antediluvian Era:204 The writer affirms the triumphs of perseverance in faith in Abel’s sacrifice, Enoch’s translation, and Noah’s building of the ark all of which brought pleasure to God and attestation by God205 11:4-7
a) Abel:206 The writer affirms that by faith Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice to God than Cain by which he received attestation by God as a righteous person God Himself approving of his gifts; and by faith he is still speaking, although he died207 11:4
b) Enoch:208 The writer affirms that by faith Enoch was approved by God as pleasing and was translated emphasizing that faith is necessary to please God 11:5-6
(1) Translated: The writer affirms that by faith Enoch was translated (taken away, μετέθηκεν) by God so that he did not experience death 11:5a
(2) Approved by God: The writer affirms that before Enoch's translation he had been approved ( μεμαρτύρηται ) as one who had been pleasing (εὑαρεστηκέναι)209 to God 11:5a
(3) Faith is Necessary to Please God: The writer explains that without faith it is impossible to begin to please God because ( γὰρ ) it is necessary ( δεῖ ) for the one approaching God to believe that He exists210 and that He becomes a rewarder of those who seek Him out211 11:6
c) Noah:212 The writer affirms that by faith Noah constructed an Ark, condemned humanity, and became an heir of the righteousness according to faith 11:7
(1) Constructed an Ark: The writer affirms that by faith Noah paid attention to God's instruction about things as yet unseen213 and constructed an ark for the safety of his household 11:7a
(2) Condemned Humanity:214 The affirms that by faith Noah condemned humanity 11:7b
(3) Became and Heir of Righteousness:215 The writer affirms that Noah became an heir of the righteousness according to faith 11:7c
2) The Triumphs of Perseverance in the Patriarchal Era:216 Faith was demonstrated in God’s promise by the self-sacrificing acts of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph in hopes of God’s future promises 11:8-22
a) Abraham and God’s Promise Considered:217 Faith was demonstrated in God’s promise by Abraham obeying God’s call and migrating to the land of promise, Sarah believing God and conceiving Isaac, all dying in the land without receiving the fulfillment of the promises, and Abraham’s offering of Isaac even though the promise said that his descendants would come through Isaac 11:8-19
(1) Abram's Call and Migration: When Abraham was called it was by faith that he obeyed by going out, not knowing where he was going, to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance, living in tents in the land of promise with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the promise, looking for a city which has foundations,218 whose architect and builder is God 11:8-10
(2) The Conception of Isaac:219 When Sarah herself received ability to conceive so late in life it was by faith in the Lord220 who had promised and fulfilled His promise to make many descendants from Abraham221 who was as good as dead222 11:11-12
(3) The Deferment of the Fulfillment of the Promise:223 All these died in faith without receiving the fulfillment of the promises, but welcoming them from a distance, they confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth seeking a country of their own--not their birth country, but a better, heavenly one; therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for He has prepared a city for them 11:13-16
(4) The Command to Sacrifice Isaac: By faith Abraham, who had received the promises that his descendants would come through Isaac, offered up Isaac, his only begotten son, when he was tested because he considered God able to raise him from the dead; whereupon he received Isaac back as a type [of what was to occur]224 11:17-19
b) Isaac and God’s Promise:225 By faith Isaac blessed Isaac and Esau even with respect to their future 11:20
d) Joseph and God’s Promise:228 By faith Joseph, while coming to the end of his life made mention of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instruction concerning the burial of his bones 11:22
3) The Triumphs of Perseverance in the Mosaic Era:229 By faith Moses endured persecution during his youth, he led the people in their exodus from Egypt, and those who followed him later took the city of Jericho whereupon Rahab was saved because she had welcomed the Israelite spies in peace 11:23-31
a) Portrait of a Young Prophet: By faith Moses endured persecution at his birth, in his identification with Israel, and in his exile from Egypt because he was looking toward his reward, and keeping the one who is invisible before his eyes 11:23-27
(1) Hidden: By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months when he was born because they saw he was a beautiful young child and because they were not afraid of the king's edict 11:23
(2) Reproach of Christ: By Faith Moses disdained to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter having chosen to endure hardship with the people of God rather than to enjoy the temporary pleasure of sin because he regarded abuse incurred for the sake of the Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt because he was looking ahead to the reward 11:24-26
(3) Left Egypt: By faith Moses left Egypt not fearing the kings rage because he kept the one who is invisible continually before his eyes 11:27
b) The Prelude to the Exodus:230 By faith Moses kept the Passover so that they did not lose their first born and the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land while the Egyptians were drowned 11:28-31
(1) Kept the Passover: By faith Moses kept the Passover and the spreading of the blood, so that the destroying angel might not touch their firstborn 11:28
(2) Crossed the Red Sea: By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land; but when the Egyptians attempted to do so, they were drowned 11:29
c) The Taking of Jericho:231 By faith the walls of Jericho fell when they encircled them for seven days, and Rahab the prostitute did not perish with the unbeliever because she had welcomed the spies 11:30-31
(1) Taking of Jericho:232 By faith the walls of Jericho fell when they had been encircled for seven days 11:30
(2) Rahab Did Not Perish: By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with the unbelievers, because she had welcomed the spies 11:31
b. The Triumphs of Perseverance in Subsequent Eras: In view of the writer’s limited time and space he transitions from his exemplary list to a rapid catalogue of those who by faith received attestation from God whether they triumphed or experienced hardship under persecution noting that they did not receive what had been promised because God had provided something better with his readers in mind so that they should not reach perfection except with them (the readers) 11:32-40
1) Those Who Experienced Triumph and Deliverance from Death: In view of the writer’s limited time and space he transitions from his exemplary list to a rapid catalogue of triumphs by faith from the time of the judges through the time of the kings 11:32-35a
b) The writer presents an abbreviated catalogue of triumphs by faith from the time of the judges through the time of the kings 11:33-35a
(1) An Abbreviated Discussion: The writer affirms that time would fail him if he spoke about the following persons and events235 11:32b
(2) A Catalogue of Triumph from the Judges through Kings:236 The author notes that through faith Gideon,237 Barak,238 Samson,239 Jephthah,240 David,241 Samuel,242 and the prophets conquered kingdoms, practiced justice, attained the promised blessings,243 shut up the mouths of lions,244 extinguished the fury of the flames,245 escaped the edge of the sword,246 became strong after weakness,247 were mighty in war, routed foreign armies248 and women received their dead through resurrection249 11:32c-34
2) The Unnamed Not Delivered from Hardship, Suffering, and Death:250 In contrast to those who experienced triumph and deliverance in their faith the writer now provides a catalogue of unnamed others who were not delivered from hardship, suffering, and death 11:35b-38
a) A Contrast in Effects: In contrast to those who experienced triumph and deliverance in their faith the writer now moves to talk about others who were not delivered from hardship, suffering, and death 11:35b
b) Tortured: The writer notes that others were tortured after refusing to accept the offered release in order that they might attain a better resurrection 11:35c
c) A Catalogue of Hardship, Suffering and Death: The writer notes that others experienced jeering and lashing, chains and prison, were stoned,251 sawn in two, were murdered by the sword, went about in sheepskins and goatskins, were destitute, oppressed, mistreated, (humanity was not worthy of them), and they wandered aimlessly in uninhabited regions and on mountains, in caves and crevices in the ground
3) Conclusion:252 The author notes that even though all of those above had received attestation from God through faith, they did not receive what had been promised because God had provided something better with his readers in mind so that they (above) should not reach perfection except with them (the readers) 11:39-40
a) Received Attestation But Not the Promise: The author notes that even though all of those above had received attestation from God [in Scripture] because of their faith, they did not receive what had been promised253 11:39
b) The writer notes that God had provided something better with his readers (us) in mind so that they should not reach perfection254 except with them (us) 11:40
C. Perspective for Endurance:255 In view of the great host of witnesses about the readers the author exhorts them to run with endurance renewing their commitment to finish the race with the perspectives that their suffering is a sign and proof of sonship, and that they are coming to a wonderful God of the New Covenant who will judge those who are indifferent to His word 12:1-29
1. The Display of Necessary Endurance: In view of the great host of witnesses about the readers the author exhorts them to run with endurance, not loosing heart, but seeing their suffering as a sign and proof of sonship from a Father over all realms who is acting for their good; thus they should renew their commitment and finish the race 12:1-13
a. Exhortation--Run with Endurance: In view of the great host of witnesses about the readers the author exhorts them to lay aside their sin and to run with endurance focusing on Jesus as an example of faith so that they will not become worn down before their race is over 12:1-3
1) Lay Aside Sin & Run with Endurance: In view of the great host of witnesses256 about the readers (us) the author exhorts them (let us) to lay aside257 all excess weight and the sin that so easily distracts, and to run with endurance the race prescribed for them 12:1
2) Focus on Jesus as an Example: The author exhorts them to run with their eyes fixed upon Jesus who is the champion258 in the exercise of faith and the one who brought faith to complete expression in that rather than the joy set before him endured a cross disregarding the disgrace and has now taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God 12:2
3) Consider Jesus Not to Become Weary: The author exhorts his readers to by all means consider the one who endured such opposition against himself so that they (you) may not become weary and lose heart 12:3
b. Exposition--The Meaning of the Sufferings to Be Endured: Reminding his readers that they have not resisted those sinning against them as far as Jesus did, he urges them not to loose heart but to regard their discipline as a sign and proof of sonship from a Father over all realms who is acting for their good 12:4-11
1) Sonship and Discipline: Reminding the readers that they have not resisted those sinning against them as far as Jesus did, the author also encourages his readers not to loose heart but to regard their discipline as a sign and proof of sonship 12:4-8
b) Discipline is An Act of Love: Asking his readers if they have forgotten the encouragement which speaks to them as sons, the writer notes from Proverbs that they should not loose heart because discipline is an act of love and corrective behavior from God as upon a favorable son 12:5-6
(1) Question: The writer asks the readers if they have completely forgotten the encouragement which speaks to them as sons 12:5a
(2) Citation of Proverbs 3:11-12: The writer cites the wisdom of Proverbs to affirm to his readers that they should not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord nor loose heart when they are corrected by Him because the Lord disciplines the one whom He loves and bestows corrective punishment upon every son whom he receives favorably 12:5b-6
c) Endure Trials As Divine Discipline: The writer exhorts his readers to endure their trials as divine discipline understanding that God is disciplining them as Sons 12:7
d) Discipline is a Sign of Sonship: The writer explains that fathers as fathers discipline their sons and that if they are left without discipline, then they are illegitimate children rather than true sons 12:8
2) Parental and Divine Discipline: As the writer compares the discipline of natural fathers with that of God, the Father over all realms, he emphasizes the supremacy of the latter’s urging them to submit to Him, realize that even though it is unpleasant now, God disciplines for our advantage yielding peace and righteousness 13:9-11
a) Submit to the Father of Spirits: The writer argues that since his readers (we) respected their natural fathers who disciplined them, they (we) should submit themselves much more to the Father of spirits261 so that they (we) should live 12:9
b) He Disciplines for Our Advantage: The reason they should submit themselves to the Father of Spirits is because He disciplines to their (our) advantage unlike their (our) fathers who disciplined for a short time at their discretion (what seemed best to them) 12:10
c) Though Unpleasant, It Yields Peace and Righteousness: The writer notes that all discipline at the actual time seems not to be pleasant but painful, but later it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness for those who have been trained by it 12:11
c. Exhortation--Renewed Commitment to Complete the Race:262 In view of God’s work of discipline the writer therefore ( Δὶο ) urges his readers to renew their commitment (strengthen their drooping hands and weakened knees, and move in a straight direction with your feet) so that they might have more difficulty (be dislocated), but rather complete the race (be healed) 12:12-13
2. The Final Warning--The Peril of Refusing God’s Gracious Word--Pilgrimage and Covenant Obligation:263 The writer urges his readers to be responsible for those of their own who are prone to apostasy because they are coming to a wonderful God of the New Covenant who will discipline those who are indifferent to His word; thus they should respond with thankful worship 12:14-29
a. Exhortation--The Responsibility of the Community For Their Own Prone to Apostasy: The writer urges the community to pursue peace and holiness and to watch out for those who might struggle by forfeiting God’s gracing, developing a defiling bitter root, and/or become apostate with no opportunity for repentance 12:14-17
1) Pursue Peace and Holiness: The writer urges his readers to pursue peace with everyone264 and holiness--without which no one will see the Lord 12:14
2) Watch For Forfeiting God’s Grace and A Defiling Bitter Root: The writer urges his readers to watch that no one forfeits the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up265 to cause trouble and defile the whole community 12:15
3) Watch for the Apostate and Secular Who Will Have No Opportunity for Repentance: The writer urges his readers to watch that no one becomes immoral (apostate) or secular like Esau because like Esau there will be no opportunity for repentance266 12:16-17
a) Watch for the Apostate and Secular: The writer urges his readers to watch that no one becomes apostate or secular like Esau who gave up his inheritance rights as the older son rather than one dish of food 12:16
b) No Opportunity for Repentance: The reason the writer urges his readers to watch that no one becomes apostate or secular like Esau is because ( γὰρ ) they know that when he desired to inherit the blessing later on he was rejected because he found no opportunity for repentance even though he had diligently sought the blessing with tears 12:17
b. Exposition--A Recital of What the Christian Stands to Lose Through Spiritual Indifference or Carelessness:267 The writer explains that his readers that they need to be responsible for those of their own prone to apostasy because they are not coming to the terrifying God of the Mosaic Covenant, but to the wonderful God of the New Covenant 12:18-24
1) Not to the God of the Mosaic Covenant: The writer explains to his readers that they have not come to the God of the Mosaic Covenant (a [mountain] that may be touched, blazing fire, darkness, gloom, whirlwind, a trumpet blast, a sound of words that made the hearers beg that no further message be given to them for they were not able to bear the command, a place where any animal will be stoned if it touches the mountain and a place that terrified Moses) 12:18-21a
2) To the God of the New Covenant: The writer explains to his readers that in contrary to the God of the Mosaic Covenant they have come to the God of the New Covenant (to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, innumerable companies of angels, a festal gathering, the assembly of the firstborn, a Judge who is God of all, the spirits of righteous persons made perfect, Jesus, mediator of a New Covenant, sprinkled blood speaking more effectively than the blood of Abel 12:21b-24
c. Exhortation--A Concluding Demand to Respond Appropriately to God: The writer urges his readers not to disregard Christ’s words because that will bring about certain discipline, but to respond to Him who is giving them an unshakable kingdom with thankful worship 12:25-29
1) Respond to Christ’s Words or Face Discipline: The author urges his readers to respond to Christ’s words because there will be no escape from his future purification where he will destroy what can be shaken to set up what cannot be shaken 12:25-27
a) Do Not Disregard Christ’s Words: The writer warns his readers not to disregard the one (Christ) who is speaking to them 12:25a
b) No Escape from His Warning:268 The writer explains that they should not disregard Christ who is speaking to them because ( γὰρ ) there is no escape (from discipline) from the one who warns them from heaven just as there was no escape from the one who warned Israel before from on earth (the voice of God)269 12:25b
c) A Future Purification: The writer explains that although the one who spoke before shook the earth at that time,270 the one from heaven promises to shake the earth and the heavens271 once again removing what can be shaken so that what cannot be shaken may remain 12:26-27
2) Worship God with Thanksgiving: Since the readers are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken the writer therefore ( Δὶο ) urges his readers to be thankful and to worship God in an acceptable manner with fear and awe for their (our) God is a consuming fire272 12:28-29
D. Words of Endurance--Life Within the Confessing Community:273 The writer urges his readers to love one another, be personally pure, and to obey their leaders by leaving Judaism, whereupon he prays that God will make them complete with everything good to do His will 13:1-21
1. Pastoral Precepts:274 The writer exhorts his readers to love others, to be morally pure in the realm of marriage, and to be content with what they have because God has promised to provide for their life 13:1-6
a. Exhortations to Love: The writer exhorts his readers to be deeply committed to others by continuing to love the brethren, showing hospitality to strangers, and remembering with empathy those who are prisoners and who have been mistreated 13:1-3
1) Love the Brethren: The writer urges that his readers must continue in brotherly love 13:1
2) Show Hospitality to Strangers: The writer urges his readers not to neglect hospitality to strangers (φιλοξενίας) because ( γὰρ ) by this means some persons have entertained angels without knowing it275 13:2
3) Remember Prisoners and the Mistreated: The writer urges his readers to continue to remember with empathy the prisoners and those who are mistreated 13:3
b. Exhortations to Martial Purity: The writer affirms the purity of marriage as something to be respected and undefiled because God will judge those who are sexually immoral and adulterers 13:3-4
1) The Purity of Marriage: The writer affirms that marriage must be respected by everyone and that the marriage bed must be undefiled 13:3a
2) Judgment of The Sexually Immoral and Adulterers: The reason that the marriage bed must be undefiled is because God will judge those who are sexually immoral and adulterers 13:4
c. Exhortations to Contentment: The writer urges his readers to be content with what they have because God has promised to provide for their lives 13:5-6
1) Be Content with What You Have: The writer urges his readers to have their lives free from the love of money and to be content with what they have 13:5
2) The Lord Will Provide for Life: The reason the writer urges his readers to be content with what they have is because the Lord has promised to provide for their lives276 13:6
2. Communal Directives: The writer urges his readers to follow the examples of their leaders, and to obey and submit to them by leaving Judaism, bearing Christ’s disgrace and through their high priest, Jesus, offering the sacrifices of praise and good deeds 13:7-19
a. Setting--Remember Your Leaders: The writer urges his readers to follow the example of their leaders who first spoke the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ and not to be led astray by the fluid and changing configurations of the strange [Jewish] teachers 13:7-9
1) Remember, Consider and Imitate Leaders: The writer urges his readers to continue to remember their leaders as those who spoke277 the Word of God to them, to consider the accomplishment of their conduct and to imitate their faith 13:7
2) The Gospel of Jesus Christ Does Not Change:278 The writer affirms the consistency of Jesus Christ (he is the same yesterday, today, and forever) 13:8
3) Don’t Be Led Astray:279 The writer exhorts his readers not to be led away with various strange teachings because it is good for the heart to be strengthened through grace rather than through regulations (foods)280 which do not benefit those who adhere to them 13:9
b. Hortatory Exposition: In view of the false Jewish teachers the writer affirms that his readers have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle do not have a right to eat because Jesus fulfills the requirement of the Day of Atonement; therefore they should leave Judaism, bear Christ’s disgrace and through their high priest, Jesus, offer the sacrifices of praise and good deeds 13:10-16
1) Exposition: In view of the false, Jewish teachers (above) the writer affirms that his readers have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle do not have a right to eat because Jesus fulfills the requirement of the Day of Atonement 13:10-12
a) Believers Have an Altar: The writer affirms that they (we) have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle do not have a right to eat 13:10
b) The writer explains ( γὰρ ) that believers have an alter from which those who serve the tabernacle do not have a right to eat because Jesus fulfills the requirement of the Day of Atonement 13:11-12
(1) Day of Atonement: The writer explains that on the Day of Atonement the blood of the sacrificial animals was brought into the Most Holy Place by the high priest for sin, but the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp281 13:11
(2) Jesus: The writer explains that as with the animals on the Day of Atonement so was it with Jesus who suffered death outside the city gate in order to consecrate the people through his own blood282 13:12
2) Exhortation: The writer concludes that his readers should leave Judaism (the camp and city), bear Christ’s disgrace and offer the sacrifices of praise and good deeds 11:13-16
b) Do Not Have a Permanent City: The writer explains that his readers should go outside the camp and bear the disgrace that Jesus bore because ( γὰρ ) they do not (presently) have a permanent city (Jerusalem?), but are intently expecting the city which is to come285 13:14
c) Offer Sacrifices of Praise and Good Deeds: The writer concludes that his readers should offer to God the sacrifices of verbal praise and acts of kindness and generosity because God is pleased with such sacrifices 13:15-16
(1) Praise His Name: The writer concludes (Δὶο) that his readers (we) should through Jesus (as through the high priest) continually offer to God a sacrifice consisting of verbal praise to His name286 13:15
(2) Acts of Love: The writer also urges his readers not to neglect acts of kindness and generosity because God is pleased with such sacrifices 13:16
c. Conclusion--Obey Your Leaders: The writer urges his readers to continue to obey their leaders, to submit to their authority and to let them lead with joy because they keep watch over their eternal life; also he urges them and to pray for him in his difficult situation and that he might be restored to them sooner 13:17-19
1) Obey and Submit to Your Leaders: The writer urges his readers to continue to obey their leaders and to submit to their authority because they keep watch for their eternal life as those who intend to give an account and should be able to do so with joy and not groaning 13:17
a) Exhortations--Obey and Submit: The writer urges his readers to continue to obey their leaders and to submit to their authority 13:17a
b) Reason--They Keep Watch Over Your Eternal Life: The writer explains that they should continue to obey and submit to their leaders because they keep watch for their (your) eternal life as those who intend to give an account 13:17b
c) Exhortation--Let Them Lead With Joy: The write urges his readers to let their leaders keep watch with joy and not groaning because the latter would be unprofitable for them (you) 13:17c
2) Prayer for the Writer: The writer urges his readers to continue to pray for them in their difficult situation where they have been falsely accused, and that they pray that he be restored to them sooner 13:18-19
a) Continue to Pray for The Writer: The writer urges his readers to continue to pray for them because they (we) are convinced that they have a clear conscience because they strive to act commendably in every way 13:18
b) Pray for Restoration Sooner: The writer urges his readers to pray so that he might be restored to them sooner 13:19
3. Prayer--God’s Provision for the Readers to Do His Will: The writer prays that the God of peace Who should be given glory forever and Who led our Lord Jesus--the great Shepherd of the sheep--out from the dead by virtue of the blood of the eternal covenant,-- that this God would make his readers complete with everything good to do His will accomplishing in them (us) what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ 13:20-21
a. Prayer for God’s Provision: The writer prays that the God of peace who led287 our Lord Jesus--the great Shepherd of the sheep--out from the dead288 by virtue of the blood of the eternal covenant,289 that God would make his readers complete with everything good to do His will accomplishing in them (us) what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ 13:20-21a
b. Prayer For God to Be Glorified: The writer prays that glory would be given to the Lord forever. Amen. 13:21b
IV. CONCLUSION--AN APPENDED PERSONAL NOTE: The writer closes his letter by urging his readers to listen to this letter of exhortation, passing on information about Timothy’s release and his plans to visit them, conveying greetings to all in the church and praying that God’s grace would be with them 13:22-25
A. Commendation of the Sermon: The writer urges his readers, as brothers to willingly listen to this letter of exhortation which he has briefly written to them 13:22
B. Passing On of Information: The writer informs his readers that Timothy has been released and that if he comes very soon that he will visit the readers with Timothy 13:23
C. Conveying Greetings: The writer conveys greetings to the leaders of the church and all of the saints and from those in Italy 13:24
1. Greetings to Leaders and the Saints: The writer greets the readers’ leaders and all of the saints 13:24a
2. The writer conveys greetings from Italy 13:24
D. Blessing: The writer prays that grace would be with all of his readers 13:25
1 In this unit Christ is related to God, creation, man and angels and represents God as the prophet who has spoken, the priest who has cleansed from sin, and the king who has sat down in majesty! These themes (of revelation, sacrifice and greatness) will be developed throughout the epistle.
Literally this unit may be in a chiastic pattern:
A Revelation through Prophets and Son
B Heir of Everything (Ps. 2:8)
C (Wisdom) as Agent of Creation
C’ (Wisdom) as Sustainer of Creation
B’ Seated Ruler (Ps. 110:1)
A’ Revelation through Angels and Son
“The framing statements (A A’) enunciate emphatically the theme of supreme revelation through the Son. The core of the exordium (B C C’ B’) describes Jesus in an arresting way as the royal Son, divine Wisdom, and the royal Priest (see William Lane, Hebrews, Word Biblical Commentary, 47A, [Dallas, Word Books Publisher, 1992], pp. 6-7).
2 Literally, “in these last days” ( ἑπ ῾ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν ). The last days begin from the time of Christ onward. He inaugurates the last days because he is the one through whom fulfillment comes.
3 As Hugh Montefiore says, “This writer’s contrast is not between natural and revealed religion or between general and special revelation, but between God’s word of promise spoken by the prophets and his final word of fulfilment (sic) spoken by his Son” (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews [London: Adam & Charles Black, 1964], p. 34). This is supported in the next portion of verse two where he is the heir of all things because he made all things.
4 This term Son is probably descriptive of the Hebrew concept of Messiah (2 Sam. 7).
5 See Psalm 2:8
6 This is tied to Jewish wisdom literature which exalts divine Wisdom as the agent of creation, revelation and reconciliation: “I learned both what is secret and what is manifest, for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me. For in her there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent and pure and most subtle. For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. Though she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets (Wisdom of Solomon 7:21-27). Likewise Wisdom of Solomon 9:2 reads, “an by thy wisdom hast formed man, to have dominion over the creatures thou has made” (The Oxford Annotated Apocrypha, pp. 110, 112).
7 Literally this reads, “τούς αἰῶνας“ meaning more than just the earth, but all that exists through time--the entire created universe, both physical and spiritual.
8 See John 1:14.
9 The Son reveals God because he is God which is substantiated by the work of God which he does--he sustains all things by the actively spoken word (ῥήματι). This is a gain an allusion to wisdom.
10 Here the Son is both priest and victim as on the Day of Atonement (cf. Ex. 30:10). See also 10:11-14.
11 This was the seat of honor (1 Ki. 2:19) and Davidic kings sat in the presence of God (1 Sam. 7:18; cf. Ps. 110:1). See Hebrews 8:1; 10:12; 12:2.
12 There are several views with respect to what is occurring here with the mention of angels: (1) the writer is attacking an undue deference to angels [cf. Col. 2:18], (2) the writer is attacking those who equate the Son with one of the “principalities and powers” which ruled the universe [cf. 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 3:10; Col. 2:15], (3) the writer is demonstrating that the one whom God addresses in heaven is not an angel [note the following testimonia from the OT), and (4) the writer is speaking to Christians who were in danger of lapsing into Judaism whereby they would identify Christ neither with God nor man, but with an angel (Montefiore, Hebrews, pp. 40-42).
The angels were the heavenly mediators of the word of God.
13 This is emphasizing his exaltation.
14 This unit is identified through the literary technique of an inclusio:
1:5 “To which of the angels did God every say ...?”
1:13 “to which of the angels has God ever said ...?”
The chain of OT passages demonstrating the superiority of the Son to the angels is expository in character and lays the foundation for the exhortation which follows in 2:1-4.
Lane notes that a synthetic parallelism exists between the opening confession of the Son and the string of quotations which follow since the OT citations were selected to support the declarations made in verses 2b-3c (Hebrews, p. 22):
A Appointment as Royal heir (2b, 5-9)
B Mediator of the creation (2c, 10)
C Eternal nature (3a,b, 11-12)
D Exaltation to God’s right hand (3c, 13)
This paragraph unfolds through three paragraphs which unfold the antithetical nature of the Son with the angels. This is done through a series of OT citations which allow the church to hear words spoken by God to the Son.
15 Note that Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14 are Davidic promises. Jesus is a son in accordance to the promises given to David.
In addition there is a chiasm:
A You are my Son
B today I have become your Father
B’ I will be his Father
A’ and he will be my Son.
16 See Matthew 3:17a.
17 Exodus 4:22; Numbers 11:12; Hos. 2:1; 11:1, 3-4; Jer. 31:9.
18 As Lane writes, “Their function is to serve; his is to rule. They are subject to constant change; he does not change, and his rule reflects a commitment to righteousness, which explains why God has crowned him with joy” (Hebrews, p. 30).
19 See the LXX of Ps. 103:4 (English/Hebrew 104:4). God exercises his will through angels.
20 This is a μὲν…δὲ beginning with verse 7. Now he argues for the exalted position of the Son as opposed to the servant position of angels.
21 See the LXX of Psalm 44:6-7 (English/Hebrew 45:6-7).
22 Lane writes, “The attribute of permanence in the Creator corresponds to the durability of his throne and serves to reinforce the contrast between the mutability of the angels and the stable, abiding character of the Son” (Hebrews, p. 30). “Heaven and earth, the realm of the angels, both belong to the created order, which will change and decay” (Ibid., p. 31).
This is a reference to the LXX of Psalm 101:25-27 (cf. English/Hebrew Psalm 102:25-27).
23 See 1:2.
24 The correlation of Messiah and God were made above in verses 8-9. This is carried on with the “you” in verse 10.
25 This verse begins with words which form an inclusio with verse 5 thereby tying the paragraph together. Note that in verse 5 Psalm 2:7 was employed and in verse 13 Psalm 110 is employed. This matches the allusions in the prologue (1:2, 3). Psalm 110:1 is employed here.
26 Whereas 1:5-14 and 2:5-18 are paragraphs of exposition, this is a paragraph of exhortation. This is a formal rhetorical technique.
27 This implies that the community was growing “lax in their commitment to Christ and were neglecting the Christian message” (Lane, Hebrews, p. 37). If the readers were unbelievers one would have expected the writer to exhort them to believe or receive what they have heard, and not to include himself in the exhortation. Also, note that the original witnesses were said to have “heard” the same word (2:3). This means more than an auditory response. It is inclusive of responding appropriately to what is said (Deut. 6:4, “Hear, O Israel!”); in this case that would have included belief.
28 This term, παραρρεῖν , describes “drifting away from one’s course.” Lane writes, “If it is proper to recognize (with Teodorico, Revist B 6  33-39) a nautical overtone in προσέχειν, ‘to hold a ship toward port, or to fasten the anchors to the sea bed,’ the image of a drifting ship, carried by the current beyond a fixed point, furnished a vivid metaphor for the failure to keep a firm grip on the truth through carelessness and lack of concern. In Prov 3:21 (LXX) παραρρεῖν signifies to lose sight of advice and wisdom. The writer warns his readers that they are in danger of losing sight of the reality of Christian salvation” (Hebrews, p. 37). He is not saying that something is drifting away from them (i.e., their salvation), but that they are in danger of drifting away from something (e.g., the revelation they have received).
Toussaint rightly understands this salvation to be eschatological, but then he concludes that it cannot have any correlation with reward since the judgment seat of Christ will have no “remembrance of sin” (Stanley D. Toussaint, “The Eschatology of the Warning Passages in the Book of Hebrews.” Grace Theological Journal 3 (1982): 69-70). His theological conclusion does not necessarily follow. Therefore, it can relate to believers in an eschatological sense.
29 This is the protasis of a first class conditional clause which assumes the truth of the statement (If, and its true,...). This message which was delivered through angels is precisely matched by the message which was delivered by the Lord in the apodosis.
The mention of a revelation which was spoken by God through angels draws the reader to tie the concern here with Judaism.
30 Although they are not mentioned in Exodus 19--20, Deuteronomy 33:2 notes that God came “from the midst of ten thousand holy ones,” and the LXX adds, “angels were with him at his right hand” (cf. Ps. 68:17). Later Jewish thought developed the thought that angels played a mediatorial role in the transmission of the Law (Book of Jubilees 1:27; 2:1, 26-27) then the NT also confirms this understanding (Acts 7:38; cf. v. 53; Galatians 3:19)
31 It is possible that the just recompense would be the persecution of Jews and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in AD 70) if this is to Palestinian Jews who are returning to Judaism from Christianity.
32 This supplies a hint that the author was probably neither one of the Twelve nor Paul himself (cf. Galatians 1--2). Lane affirms that “those who heard” need not be a reference to the apostles since “apostle” is only used of the Lord in 3:1 (Hebrews, p. 39), but who would be “those who heard” him in the fullest sense but the apostles? While this may not necessarily describe the office of apostles, it certainly describes the apostles in a full sense.
33 These were the redemptive activities on behalf of Israel in the LXX and thus the vehicle for revelation (Ex. 7:3; Deut. 4:34; 6:22; 7:19; 29:2; cf. Mark 16:20).
34 The term is “power” ( δυνάμεσιν ) by which God breaks into the community to confirm his word.
35 The manifestations of power were meant to validate the message delivered to the community!
“Since the purpose of this evidence is the validation that God has spoken definitively in Christ, unbelief and carelessness can only be regarded as the expression of an utterly incomprehensible hardness of heart (cf. 3:7-8, 12, 15; 4:7)” (Lane, Hebrews, p. 40).
36 This unit is identified through the literary technique of an inclusio:
2:5 “For it is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come.”
2:16 “For surely it is not angels that he helps”
When one gets to 2:17-18 one has an introduction to the next subject. The introduction of other “characteristic terms” than angels in these verse are a clue that the author is about to introduce another line of thought.
37 That which people today use to prove that Christ is not God, the writer of Hebrews uses to prove that he is God.
38 The objection might have been that since Jesus assumed a condition inferior to angels--especially by tasting of death-- that the angels were superior to Christ. Therefore the writer asserts that God did not entrust the administration of the heavenly world to come to angels (as he may have with this present world [Deut. 32:8]), but to the exalted Messiah. This clarified perspective will then allow the writer to unfold Jesus’ solidarity with mankind in 2:10-18.
39 This no doubt has reference to the eschatological kingdom of God in which Salvation is worked out (cf. Ps. 92:1; 95:10; Heb. 1:66:5; 13:14)
40 This citation comes from Psalm 8:4. Note the correlation of Psalm 8 with Psalm 110 in the New Testament (Hebrews 1:13; 1 Cor. 15:25-27; Eph. 1:20-22; cf. Phil. 3:21; 1 Pet. 3:22).
While the Psalm has a reference to man in general (who was designed to rule over the earth [Genesis 1:26-28]), it specifically points to messiah, the Son of Man (cf. Dan. 7:13). Could this also be an allusion to the second Adam? Jesus as the second Adam (a representative man) fulfills the ruling vocation intended for humankind.
41 The scope of this “everyone” is found below in 2:10 where it says “many sons.”
42 In view of 2:9 the writer begins by explaining that the death which Jesus died was consistent with God’s known character and purpose. Therefore, Lane writes, “god who creates and preserves all things is precisely the one who is able to act in such a way that his design for humankind will be achieved” (Hebrews, p. 55).
43 The sense of τελειῶσαι is one of becoming fully equipped for one’s office as the priests were consecrated for their office (cf. LXX of Ex. 29:9, 29, 33, 35; Lev. 4:5; 8:33; 16:32; 21:10; Num. 3:3). The sufferings of Jesus permitted Him to come before God with his redemptive mission. “The expression ‘perfected through suffering’ thus anticipates the full development of the paragraph, which moves from the champion motif of vv 10-16 to the presentation of Jesus as high priest in vv 17-18” (Lane, Hebrews, p. 58).
44 This term, ἀρχηγός, which might be translated “leader,” “author,” “guide,” or “pioneer” may also be an allusion to Hellenistic image of Hercules--the “divine hero” who descends from heaven to earth to rescue humankind” (Lane, Hebrews, pp. 56-57, 61; cf. also Knox, Harvard Theological Review : 234-235, 245-247; Somon, Hercule et le Christianisme, Galinsky, The Herkles Theme, Tiede, Charismatic Figure,pp. 71-100). It is also possible that the “champion” concept could come from the OT (cf. Isa. 42:13; 49:24-26; 59:15b-20; Eph. 4).
45 This is it he goal of salvation (cf. 2:7 above).
46 The cultic character of “perfect” above is made evident in this verse with “consecrates” or “sanctifies ( ἀγιάζων ). This is how the people of Israel were admitted into God’s presence (cf. Procksch, TDNT, I:89-97). Here Jesus (cf. 13:12) is like God of the OT who sanctified His people (Ex. 31:13; Lev. 20:8, 21:15; 22:9, 16, 32; cf. Ezk. 20:12; 37:28)
47 One can interpret the term for “one” ( ἐνὸς ) in three possible ways: (1) if it is neuter in gender it could refer to a common human nature, (2) if it is masculine it could refer to “one man” (i.e., Adam or Abraham), and (3) if it is masculine it could also refer to God. The latter may be the best choice in view of the contextual references to God in 2:10 and the family relationship in 2:11. “Both the Son and those who are sons share a common familial relationship that is rooted in the gracious determination of God to bring his children to their destiny through the redemptive mission of the Son” (Lane, Hebrews, p. 58).
48 This has an eschatological tone.
49 Lane writes, “The prophet was persecuted and rejected by the people, but he became a rallying point for faith .... Jesus is now the representative head of a new humanity which is being led to glory through suffering ...” (Hebrews, p. 60).
50 The difference between Jesus and mankind is that our death was connected with disobedience to God whereas Jesus’ was connected with doing the will of God. Therefore, the devil had no claim upon Jesus (cf. 2 Timothy 1:10).
51 These verses bring this first major unit (1:5--2:16) to a conclusion (“for this reason, *hen”) and they announce the subject to be developed in the next unit (e.g., the purpose of the Son’s solidarity with the human family was that he might become a “merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God” (v. 17)
52 Lane writes, “common to the concepts both of champion and of high priest are the elements of representation and solidarity with a particular people. The presentation of Jesus in 2:10-18 provided assurance that the exalted Son continues to identify himself with the oppressed people of God exposed to humiliation and testing in a hostile world” (Hebrews, p. 67).
53 In the previous section there was a concentration on Christ made human. Now, by comparing Christ with a man such as Moses, the author is trying to show how great a man Jesus is. He is a faithful man. This takes up one of the two themes in 2:17, “a merciful and faithful high priest.”
Verse 14 probably does not take up a new paragraph, but is a conclusion to the paragraph begun here at 3:1. The terms which tie these units together are Jesus, high priest, and confession (cf. 3:1-2a with 4:14). Lane writes, “the hearers are urged to find in the faithfulness of Jesus an incentive for their own fidelity as Christians (Hebrews, p. 69). The actual theme of high priest is not picked up until 4:15ff.
There is a logical reason for the placement of Jesus’ superiority of Moses after his superiority over angels. Moses had a higher privilege and rank than the ministering angels (cf. Numbers 12:6-8; Lane, Ibid., p. 73-74).
54 The key terms in this section are “faithful” and “house.” The writer uses the latter to demonstrate that Jesus is superior to Moses.
Moses is only designated a priest once in the OT (Ps. 99:6), but he qualifies as a priest with his Levitical background (Ex. 2:1-10), his ministry of the word and privileged vision of God (Ex. 33:12--34:35; Num 12:7-8), and his service at the alter (Ex. 24:4-8). Perhaps this is the priestly tie with 2:17. Jesus is a faithful high priest. He is even more faithful than the priest Moses.
55 These terms sum up 1:1--2:18. Jesus is the one who proclaimed God’s word of salvation (apostle) and made propitiation for the sins of the people (High Priest). Note that Moses was “sent” (ἀπόστείλω) to Pharaoh as a messenger from God (LXX Ex. 3:10). Lane writes, “The coordination of the phrase ‘apostle and high priest’ indicates that the writer is concerned to emphasize the indivisibility of the two offices. The revelation accomplished in Jesus is characterized neither by the word alone nor by the priestly office alone, but by both in conjunction” (Hebrews, p. 76).
56 See Numbers 12:7 (Moses); 1 Chronicles 17:14 (the Davidite).
57 Lane suggests that there is a chiastic structure here:
A Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses
B as the house-builder receives more honor than the house
B’ for every house is built by someone
A’ but God is the builder of everything
“Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses in the same measure as God has more honor than the universe he created” (Hebrews, p. 77).
58 Here God’s house may have reference to the people of God (Num. 12:7), or more specifically the tabernacle of God. Zane Hodges writes, “The reference to Moses being faithful in all God’s house was drawn from Numbers 12:7 in which the tabernacle furnished the backdrop. Hence God’s ‘house’ in the Old Testament situation would be the tabernacle itself which Moses had constructed in strict obedience to the divine directions. It was a prophetic testimony ‘to what would be said in the future’ (Heb. 3:5) (“Hebrews” in BKC, NT, p. 786).
59 Jesus rules over God’s house as Son--one enthroned, acclaimed, and worshiped by angels (cf. 1:3-6).
60 As with Moses’ house, the readers are now being described as the house that the Son is over.
61 Hodges writes, “As the context and the Old Testament background show, the author was thinking in priestly terms. He was also thinking functionally. The exalted Son presides over a priestly apparatus which is an operative reality. As long as the readership held firmly to their Christian commitment, they also functioned within this priestly arrangement. But just as one who was a true Levite by birth could withdraw from participation in the tabernacle of Moses’ day, so too one who is truly a Christian by new birth may withdraw from his priestly role within the functioning household. It was precisely this danger which concerned the writer, in the present warning passage as well as in later ones” (BKC, 786).
62 The two main terms which set off this unit are see (βλέπειν) and unbelief (ἀπιστία) as they set up an inclusio in verses 12 and 19. The significance of these terms is that the response to the word of God can be unbelief. Therefore, they are being admonished to maintain the basic position of faith (cf. v. 14).
63 LXX Psalm 94:7-11.
64 This is a good text to support inspiration.
65 Note that the author teats his readers as a redeemed people (e.g., their “fathers”).
Historically, Ross affirms that the “incident referred to here is the people’s murmuring at Rephidim (Ex. 17; Num. 20:1-13). The names given to the place reflect the incident. Meribah (cf. Pss. 81:7; 106:32) means ‘strife’ and Massah means ‘testing,’ for the people strove with the Lord and tested Him. So God swore that they could not enter the land, but must perish in the wilderness. The younger generation would enter the Promised Land” (Allen P. Ross, “Psalms” in BKC, OT, p. 864). This is based upon verse 8 of the MT.
However, Probably Numbers 13--14 are particularly in view in the LXX where the particular place names are replaced by the “rebellion” and the “testing.” Israel camped at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran and refused to enter when the “spys” brought back their report (cf. Hebrews 3:16-19).
Concerning the concept of “rest” here and in Hebrews 3:11 Ross writes, “This passage is quoted in Hebrews 3:7-11 as a warning for Christians who through unbelief (Heb. 3:12) were in danger of not receiving the promised rest (cf. comments .... In its fullest sense, that rest signifies the Lord’s coming kingdom on earth, when believers will experience spiritual and temporal rest in the Lord. Believers, of course, enter that rest positionally when they cease from their works and trust Him” (Ibid.). This rest has its root expression in the goal of creation--the sabbath rest.
66 The writer extends his warning to every member of the congregation (τινὶ ὑμῶν meaning “even one among you” [cf. 3:13; 4:1, 11; 6:12; 12:15]).
67 Lane notes that this “unbelief” “is not a lack of faith or trust. It is the refusal to believe God. It leads inevitably to a turning away from God in a deliberate act of rejection” (Hebrews, p. 86; cf. Numbers 14:11; Deut. 1:32; 9:32; Ps. 106:24). This sin is a refusal to obey God and to act upon His promise. The Christian community is not immune from the rebellious spirit expressed by the generation in the desert.
68 He is comparing his readers to the wilderness generation (LXX of Numbers 14:9) where God’s people were commanded not to depart (ἀποστάται). But they did and thus did not enter the land (their rest). Therefore, this description of “falling away” can have reference to believers. F. F. Bruce writes, “And for Christians to repudiate the Apostle and high priest of their confession, similarly appointed by God, would be if possible an even more outrageous revolt against the living God. It has indeed been questioned whether a relapse from Christianity into Judaism would be comparable to the action of the Israelites when they ‘turned back their hearts unto Egypt;’ it would not be a mere return to a position previously occupied, but a gesture of outright apostasy. A complete break with God (The Epistle to the Hebrews. The New International Commentary [Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1964], p. 66).
69 Had the writer doubted the salvation of his readers it would make more sense for him to exhort them to believe or receive Christ rather than to encourage each other daily (3:12).
70 This resumes the if in 3:6 (ἐάνπερ).
71 Lane appropriately writes, “The appeal to hold firmly to the basic position held at the beginning in v 14 presents the antithesis to the ἀποστῆναι, ‘turning away,’ in v 12 .... It draws its emotional force from the disposition of Israel at Kadesh, where the people determined to elect new leadership and return to Egypt (Num 14:3-4) rather than to maintain their position and to act on the promise of God .... The readers are reminded that perseverance until the time of the actual realization of the promise and entrance into the eschatological rest prepared for the people of God is required of those who are ‘partners with Christ.’ The community is called to expectant waiting” (Hebrews, p. 88). If they do not hold on to the end they will not be acting as partners with Christ and will be expressing rebellion against him.
72 The writer uses the rhetorical devise of questions with answers supplied to drive home his point. This is called subiectio (Lane, Hebrews, p. 84).
Israel’s evil was defiant unbelief in that they rebelled against God (v. 16), sinned against God (v. 17), and refused to obey God (v. 18).
73 Lane writes, “When the Israelites realized their folly, they sought to repent. In their presumption they decided they would enter Canaan after all, in spite of the divine oath. The mission was abortive and they were soundly defeated (Num 14:39-45; cf. Deut 1:41-44). The oath of God was final. It is this epilogue to the transactions at Kadesh that is involved with the statement, ‘they were unable to enter because of unbelief’ .... The conclusion thus introduces the motif of the impossibility of a second repentance after apostasy, in anticipation of a fuller treatment later in the sermon (6:4-8; 10:26-31; ...). The hearers are left with the overwhelming impression that unbelief would expose them to the same precarious situation as Israel at Kadesh” (Hebrews, p. 89).
74 In addition to the continued development of Psalm 95 (LXX 94), the writer of Hebrews also includes Genesis 2:2 in this warning. The two passages are connected to one another by the Greek cognate for “rest” (Gen. 2:2 “κατέπαυσεν,” Ps. 94:11 “κατάπαυσις“). This is based upon reading these OT passages in Greek because the MT uses different terms. The rest which Israel did not enter into in Psalm 95:11 is tied to the goal of creation--the sabbath rest.
75 This unit is marked off by an inclusio formed by hortatory subjunctives and the phrase “to enter that rest (vv. 1, 11). Also the thought of “entering into God’s rest” is repeated throughout the unit (vv. 1, 3a, 3b, 5, 6, 10, 11). This is all based upon the expression used in Psalm 95:11 (LXX 94:11), “I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.”
76 This “good news” is the term usually used for the gospel (εὐηγγελισμένοι). Yet here it probably relates to the good news concerning God’s rest (as with Israel in Numbers 14) rather than the specific message about redemption.
77 This is an aorist participle in 4:3 ( οἱ πιστεύσαντες).
78 This is a present tense (Εἰσρχόμεθα) emphasizing a present aspect of the rest which those who have believed have already entered into. This present aspect no doubt includes the benefits of spiritual rest or salvation (cf. Luke 4). The writer is concerned about entering into the future rest as well.
Another explanation of this present tense is that it is a futuristic present (Matt. 17:11; Jn. 14:3; 1 Cor. 16:5) asserting in a confident (present) way the imminent fulfillment in the future (Toussaint, “Warning Passages in Hebrews” GTJ, 3::71).
79 This probably has reference to Psalm 95 contextually which is also the speaking of the Holy Spirit (3:7). Perhaps this will occur at the future Judgment Seat of Christ.
80 In other words God’s word (Ps. 95) will expose the motives of the readers in their move away from Christianity back to Judaism. It will be seen as an act of rebellion in a threatening situation rather than an act of faith. It will parallel Israel’s rebellion in the face of “giants in the land” rather than their faith to follow God’s command to take the land which He was giving them. These are the rebellious “thoughts and intentions of our hearts” which will be exposed (cf. 4:11b).
81 While this unit is the concluding section to what was begun in 3:1, it is also transitional in that it reintroduces the concept of Jesus as high priest (2:17-18) which will be developed in the following unit. Lane writes, “Jesus’ high priestly ministry is the guarantee that God’s people will celebrate the Sabbath in his presence” (Hebrews, p. 103).
82 The statement that Jesus is the “Son of God” may well be the confession ( ὁμολογίας ) that they are being exhorted to hold fast to.
83 Contextually, this “time of need” seems to be more than any general need in a person’s life. It seems to be a need to remain faithful when one is tempted to deny Christ and thus be rebellious.
84 Lane notes a concentric symmetry to these verses:
A The old office of high priest (5:1)
B The solidarity of the high priest with the people (5:2-3)
C The humility of the high priest (5:4)
C’ The humility of Christ (5:5-6)
B’ The solidarity of Christ with the people (5:7-8)
A’ The new office of the high priest (5:9-10)
This structure emphasizes the similarities between Jesus and the high priest until verse 9-10 which unfold the differences that separate the unique priesthood of Christ from the Levitical priesthood (Hebrews, p. 111). These differences will then be developed in 7:1--10:18.
85 The movement is from Jesus (4:14-16) to Aaron (5:1-4) to Jesus (5:5-10).
86 Lane writes, “The bloody offerings for the Day of Atonement are in the foreground of the discussion of the sacrificial ministry of the Levitical high priest here and elsewhere in Hebrews (cf. 7:27; 10:4, 12, 26) [Hebrews, p. 116].
87 This seems to match the OT pattern of offering for sins of ignorance or error (cf. 9:7; Lev. 4:2, 13, 22, 27; 5:2-4), and not sins committed intentionally which would result in exclusion from Israel (Num. 15:30-31).
88 See Leviticus 4:3-12; 9:7; On the Day of Atonement he was expected to make atonement for himself, his household and for the congregation of Israel (Lev. 16:6, 11, 15-17). See also the Mishnah Yoma 3:8; 4:2--5:7.
89 See Exodus 28:1; Numbers 3:10; 18:1. This emphasizes the humility of the high priest who is dependent upon divine appointment.
90 Although the writer implies through these comparisons that Christ is greater than Aaron, the specific statements are differed until 7:1-25.
91 Note that “Son” is not descriptive of parentage, but of appointment (cf. 1:5).
92 This was implied in 1:3 as the one who made “purification of sins.” Now it is explicitly stated. “Son” was emphasized in 1--4; priest will be emphasized in 5--10.
93 Unlike the counterpart to this category above, Jesus is not united with the people through evil. Rather, he is united with the people through suffering and dependence upon God. Lane writes, “Jesus is able to feel the weakness of others because he was exposed to testing even as they are” (Hebrews, p. 116).
94 The term for suffering is ε῎παθεν which in Hebrews speaks of Jesus’ death as a part of his priestly duty (cf. 2:9, 10; 9:26; 13:12). The learning probably related to learning God’s will from the Scripture. As Lane writes, “From Scripture, and especially from the Psalms, Jesus learned that his passion was grounded in the saving will of God and could not be severed from his calling. Thus in the declaration that Jesus ‘learned obedience from what he suffered,’ the term τὴν ὑπακοήν, ‘obedience,’ has a very specific meaning: it is obedience to the call to suffer death in accordance with the revealed will of God.... Jesus freely accepted the suffering of death because Scripture, and through it God, appointed him to this sacrifice for the sake of his office....” He does not cling to the privileged status that his unique sonship implies but receives it from the Father only after he has suffered the humiliation of death on the cross (cf. 12:2). Jesus learned experientially what obedience entails through his passion in order to achieve salvation and to become fully qualified for his office as eternal high priest (2:10; 5:9-10)” (Hebrews, p. 121).
95 Lane writes, “Through his sufferings and the accomplishment of his redemptive mission, Jesus has been perfected by God as the priest of his people and exalted to the divine presence ....” (Hebrews, p. 122).
96 Although most divide this unit into two paragraphs with a “severe warning” in 5:11--6:8 and then an “encouragement” in 6:9-20, Lane seems to be correct when he identifies an inclusio with in 5:11 and 6:12 through the term “sluggish” (νωθροί). He writes, “This word occurs only here in Hebrews, and nowhere else in the NT. Its literary function corresponds to the use of ἀπιστία in 3:12 and 3:19 to indicate the limits of a paragraph of comment on the biblical citation of Ps 95:7b-11...” (Hebrews, p. 134).
With insight Lane writes, “It is commonly assumed on the basis of 5:11--6:3 that the community addressed had failed to mature in faith and understanding, and consequently required rudimentary instruction rather than the advanced exposition of Christ’s priesthood and sacrifice presented in 7:1--10:18. the problem with this reconstruction of the situation is that it is not supported by the detail of the text. The biblical interpretation and the presentation of Christology in 1:1--5:10 presuppose advanced Christian instruction and a level of understanding that corresponds to the adult consumption of solid food and not to a diet of milk. In addition, the writer shows no inclination to review with his hearers the foundational elements of the Christian faith. He clearly regarded the hearers as mature. He reminds them that they have ingested over a considerable period of time the instruction that qualified them to be the teachers of others (5:12). Consequently, the portrayal of them as infants who have to be nurtured with milk is not an actual description of some or of all of the members of the community. It is irony, calculated to shame them and to recall them to the stance of conviction and boldness consonant with their experience (6:4-5, 10) and hope (6:9-12). The community has deviated from its earlier course (cf. 10:32-34) by becoming sluggish in understanding (5:12). Their regression to infancy must represent a quite recent development. It was apparently an attempt to sidestep their responsibility in a world that persecuted them and held them in contempt, but it threatened their integrity. The purpose of 5:11--6:12 is to preserve the community from such aberration by reminding them of what they have experienced and what they posses through the gospel ...” (Hebrews, p. 135, cf. p. 145-146).
97 See Lane Hebrews, p. 138.
98 The foundation has already been laid (cf. 2:3-4; 6:1, 4).
99 Each of the six items listed here may well have reference to the high priestly ministry of Christ: dead works=regulations associated with the Levitical priesthood (9:10), washings, appointment of priests through the laying on of hands et cetera (see Lane Hebrews, p. 140).
100 This term ( ᾿Αδύνατον) is placed emphatically at the head of these verses in the Greek text.
Lane writes, “The assertion ‘it is impossible to restore them to repentance’ is parallel to the notion of laying again the foundation concerning repentance in v 1. There the primary word concerning Christ was the foundation, which had to be left standing and which could not be recast. This thought is reiterated precisely in v 6; it is impossible to seek to lay another foundation than the one that has been laid and is sustaining the people of God .... In the eschatological perspective of Hebrews, there is no other repentance than that provided by God through Jesus Christ. There is no salvation apart from the purification for sins accomplished by the divine Son in the final period of God’s redemptive activity (1:1-3). The ἀδύνατον, which is used absolutely and without qualification in v 4, expresses an impossibility because the apostate repudiates the only basis upon which repentance can be extended .... To repudiate Christ is to embrace the ‘impossible’” (Hebrews, p. 142).
101 This term (α῞παξ) has the sense of definite occurrence (TDNT 1:382). The writer will now describe the event of salvation which the readers have experienced in terms of its different aspects and manifestations (Lane, Hebrews, p. 141).
102 This “taste” is to fully experience something (cf. 2:9).
103 This is an aorist participle (parapes*ntaY) indicating a decisive moment of commitment to apostasy. When this term is used in the LXX it describes an attitude “reflecting deliberate and calculated renunciation of God (Ezek 20:27; 22:4 ...” (Lane, Hebrews, p. 142). This is similar to the apostasy noted in 3:12 which Israel expressed at Kadesh.
104 Lane writes, “This could entail a return to Jewish convictions and practices as well as a public denial of faith in Christ under pressure from a magistrate or a hostile crowd, simply for personal advantage (cf. Mark 8:34-38; Herm. Sim. 8.8.2; 9.19.1) [Hebrews, p. 6].
105 Lane identifies this consequence as being part of the cursing sanctions of the covenant (Hebrews, p. 143). But one wonders where these are for those who are part of the New Covenant. The New Covenant only describes blessing for its partakers. The covenant which includes “cursing sanctions” is the Mosaic covenant and that is not applicable for those who have believed in Christ (6:4-5). Note that the words are “close to being cursed.” This is different than actually being cursed. The description here is one of severe consequences for their rebellion, but not eternal consequences (cf. 1 Cor. 5:5).
106 Again, this is another affirmation that he is speaking to those who are saved! Toussaint identifies this term with future salvation (GTJ 3 : 75), but this is not a necessary or natural conclusion in this passage.
Note also that he calls them “beloved” (ἀγαπητοί). This is a term reserved for the household of faith.
107 This is an exhortation to continue their diligent ministry because God will reward them for their work in the future.
108 Perhaps that specifics of this ministry may be found in 10:32-34.
109 Genesis 22:16.
110 Lane writes, “Abraham received the definitive confirmation of the divine promise after having been severely tested both in faith and endurance (v 15; cf. Gen 22:1, 15-18). The fulfillment of the promise he had received from God (Gen 12:2; 15:5) depended upon Isaac. The steadfast trust in God’s word of promise that he displayed when he was commanded to offer up his son is precisely the quality of commitment appropriate to those who are currently the heirs to the divine promise” (Hebrews, p. 151).
111 Lane writes, “the focus of the exposition shifts sharply from the patriarch to Christians, who are designated ..., ‘the heirs of the promise’ (cf. v 12). As those who have inherited the promises through Christ, they are to appreciate the relevance of the biblical account to them. What is recorded in Scripture is intended to strengthen them in their conviction that God’s purpose for them is also unalterable. The sworn assurance of God is extended to them ...” (Hebrews, p. 152).
112 This someone greater was YHWH (Deut. 6:13; 10:20). An oath is calling God to bear witness in a disputed matter (see Philo, On the Special Laws 2.10).
113 Genesis 22:16-17.
114 Although this is not specified in this passage, its most logical referent, textually, is the promise and the oath in Genesis 22:16-17.
115 It is most likely not the anchor which has entered behind the curtain, but hope. The antecedent to the participle is the relative pronoun ûn which is the complement of the immediately preceding word hope (ἐλπίδος, v. 18; see also the RSV and NASB which translate the passage in this way). See its later reference in 7:19 as “a new hope by which we draw near to God.”
116 This refers to the OT model where the inner curtain separated the sanctuary of God from the holy place in the tabernacle where the high priest could enter on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:2, 12, 15; cf. Ex. 26:31-35; Lev. 21:23; 24:3; Heb. 9:3). Now Jesus is the eternal high priest who has offered made his self-offering as a ground of Christian hope. He has opened for believers the true presence of God (cf. 10:19, 22).
117 The Abrahamic promise (6:13-16) was insured by the mediation of the real high priest like Melchizedek (6:17-20).
118 An inclusio establishes this section--”Melchizedek met Abraham” (7:1,10; cf. Gen. 14:17).
Hebrews 7:1-10 explains the comparison of Christ to Melchizedek: (1) His attributes are the same as Jesus--the Son of God: “King of righteousness” “King of peace,” “blesser of Abraham” (7:1-2). (2) His claim on the office of High priest is not on heredity (7:3). (3) Christ does what Melchizedek did--he blesses Israel (Abraham) 7:4-10.
119 The Melchizedek of Psalm 110:4 (Hebrews 6:20) is now identified through a discussion of Genesis 14:17-20. As Lane writes, “The exegesis presupposes that an antecedent revelation is the pledge of a future eschatological fulfillment. In 7:1-10 the revelation in Ps. 110:4 is understood to have confirmed the eschatological implications of Gen. 14:17-20 ....” He rightly adds, “In Hebrews Melchizedek is not a redeemer, and he performs no saving act. He is a historical figure who serves as a precedent for a priesthood not based on lineage or law. It is possible that the writer of Hebrews was aware of and stood critically against some of the traditions concerning Melchizedek, but is now impossible to specify which traditions the writer may have known. His development of Melchizedek is essentially independent from extrabiblical ideas. It is derived from Gen. 14:17-20, which has been approached typologically from the perspective of Ps 110:4” (Hebrews, 159, 162-63).
Concerning the typological nature of Melchizedek Baylis astutely writes, “as the covenant was reflected in Abraham’s life, so would it be in the future nation. Therefore as Melchizedek interacted with Abraham, he too represented a future One who would come. That future One would bless Israel `just like’ Melchizedek had blessed Abraham .... Genesis intended Melchizedek to represent an ultimate Melchizedek” (“The Author of Hebrews’ Use of Melchizedek from the Context of Genesis,” ThD dissertation [Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1989], 162-63).
120 Melchizedek “offers confirmation to Abraham that the covenant’s benefits ([Gen.]12:3a) have been reflected in the defeat of the enemies. He then turns and offers praise to God on behalf of Abraham for this covenantal deliverance. Abraham confirms Melchizedek’s superior status by offering him a tithe. Melchizedek is thus a priest who acts as a mediator between Abraham and God” (“The Author of Hebrews’ Use of Melchizedek from the Context of Genesis,” 161-62).
121 By examining the toledot motifs in Genesis one can see that Melchizedek did not have the correct matriarch or patriarch, was presented nowhere as having a part in the genealogical line of blessing, and actually was not reported to have been born or died. Thus he has no place in genealogical blessing. Hebrews 7:3 is not affirming that Melchizedek had no lineage, but that lineage was not the basis of his priesthood. He was not related to the national genealogical requirements for priesthood.
The mediatory role of Melchizedek is supported by the “bridge” motif in Genesis which began with Babel (Gen. 11) where man tried to bridge the gap between the “gods” and their nation with the man made tower. Continuing in this thought Baylis writes, “Following its failure, God provided a nation in Abraham instead of Babel [Gen. 12:2], and a chosen mediator between heaven and earth instead of a tower. god reconfirmed the national promise and the God-made `bridge’ to Jacob in `Jacob’s ladder’” (“The Author of Hebrews’ Use of Melchizedek form the Context of Genesis,” 162).
In view of the above comparison Jesus becomes both parts of the channel of blessing--national and mediatory. He is Israel from Abraham (Matthew 1--4) and He is Melchizedek (Hebrews 7). In addition Jesus is confirmed to be the One who mediates between God and man as the true Bethel (Jn. 1:51; cf. Gen. 28:10-22). Jesus is the God-Man--the mediator between God and Man!
Lane writes, “Melchizedek’s sudden appearance and equally sudden disappearance from recorded history evoked the notion of eternity, which was only prefigured in Melchizedek but was realized in Christ. Consequently, Melchizedek foreshadows the priesthood of Christ at that point where it is most fundamentally different from the Levitical priesthood ...” (Hebrews, p. 166).
122 “He abides a priest perpetually” speaks of Melchizedek’s influence through his successor Jesus just as Abel still speaks concerning his faith (11:4) and Abraham still lives in his seed (6:14) [Baylis, “The Author of Hebrews’ Use of Melchizedek from the Context of Genesis,” 173, 176-86).
123 Lane writes, “By using the term ‘patriarch,’ the writer prepares for the conclusion of vv 9-10 that Levi paid a tithe to Melchizedek through his father (πατήρ), Abraham ...” (Hebrews, 168).
124 Lane writes, “So far as the record of Scripture is concerned, Melchizedek has no end of life and his unique priesthood has no successor. But what is true of Melchizedek in a limited and literary sense is true absolutely of the one who serves his people as high priest in the presence of God ...” (Hebrews, p. 170).
125 Lane writes, “the statement that Levi had himself paid the tithe was true in an important sense, indicated by the expression δι ᾿ ᾿Αβραάμ , ‘through Abraham,’ which immediately follows. The corporate solidarity that bound Israel to the patriarch implied that Levi was fully represented in Abraham’s action. Therefore, Levi’s status relative to Melchizedek was affected by Abraham’s relationship to that personage. Consequently, the superiority of Melchizedek over the Levitical priesthood is not merely theoretical but has a basis in history ...” (Hebrews, p. 170).
126 Lane understands this unit to be built about typological exegesis where the priesthood of Aaron is typical of Jesus’ priesthood which fulfills all that Aaron’s priesthood could not do (Hebrews, 177).
127 The change of law in this unit is not referring to all of the Mosaic Law but to that code of the Law which referred to code: legal descent, standards of bodily qualification and ritual purity (cf. 7:14, 26; Lane, Hebrews, 182-5).
128 Lane writes, “although Jesus’ human life had been exposed to κατάλυσις, ‘destruction,’ through crucifixion, his life was not destroyed by the death suffered on the cross. The phrase δύναμιν ζωῆς ἀκαταλύτου describes the new quality of life with which Jesus was endowed by virtue of his resurrection and exaltation to the heavenly world, where he was formally installed in his office as high priest ...” (Hebrews, 184).
129 Lane writes, “Through this ‘better hope’ the new people of God have secured the assurance of a quality of access to and a relationship with God that were not possible under the Levitical institution” (Hebrews, 186).
130 Lane writes, “The christological significance of Melchizedek, however, is limited because in the biblical account he has nothing to do with sacrifice. For that reason, in 7:26-28 the writer builds a bridge to the subsequent exposition in that reason, in 7:26-28 the writer builds a bridge to the subsequent exposition in 8:1-10:18, where the sacrificial aspect of Jesus’ office as high priest is elaborated” (Hebrews, 2:257).
131 This unit is an introduction, or transition, to the exposition that follows in Hebrews 9.
132 Lane writes, “The writer’s statement in 8:1-2 is the summit of his case. The `crowning affirmation’ is not simply that Christians have a high priest who has taken his seat at God’s right hand (v 1) but that he is the ministering priest in the heavenly sanctuary (v 2)” (Hebrews, p. 204).
133 Literally, “taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of Majesty ....” This recalls 1:3 and the writer’s use of Psalm 110:1. This may also be an allusion to Zechariah 6:13 (LXX) where the one who is seated at God’s right hand is the anointed priest, “And he shall receive power, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and there shall be a priest on his right [καὶε῎σται ἰερεὺς ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ] hand, and a peaceable counsel shall be between them both.”
134 Although he does not state it here, the writer has in mind Christ’s presentation of Himself as a sin offering (cf. 7:27; 9:14).
135 The writer is not saying that the earthly sanctuary was not real, or was false, but that it was a symbol, and was imperfect. Lane writes that, “the contrast between the earthly and heavenly sanctuary is not an expression of Alexandrian metaphysics, but the writer’s way of presenting the typological relation between the old and new covenants; the heavenly liturgy is the eschatological reality that the OT institutions only foreshadowed, and the relationship between the two sanctuaries is basically a temporal one ...” (Hebrews, p. 206).
136 Some believe that there is a true spiritual heavenly tabernacle in which Christ entered and sprinkled his blood (Heb. 8:2,5; 9:11, 23, 24). Philo felt that this was in agreement with Plato. But this is not a reflection of the Platonic idea that the immaterial is the real realm and this is not earthy. In Hebrews 9:5 it talks of the mercy seat (ἱλαστήριον) and the only other occurrence of this term is in Romans 3:25 where it speaks of Christ as our propitiation. In Hebrews it is not so much that act of propitiation but the place of propitiation. Therefore in Romans 3:25 the heavenly, holy-place would have been Calvary! It was probable that the “tabernacle” was a blueprint and not a model. If Christ has to take His blood into a heavenly temple, then it was not “finished” on the cross. The mercy seat of the Spiritual reality was Calvary (John A. Witmer, class notes of student in 444 History of Philosophy, Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 1983).
137 See Exodus 25:9, 40; 26:30; 27:8; Numbers 8:4.
138 These verses are based upon Jeremiah 31:31-34.
139 This first covenant which is passing away has the cultic regulations in view. This can be especially seen in the next unit where the first covenant is developed.
140 These two topics will now be discussed in inverse order.
141 This Menorah (λυχνία) was placed on the south side of The Holy Place (Ex. 26:35; cf. 25:31-39; 27:20-21).
142 This stood at the north side of the front compartment (Ex. 25:23-30; 26:35; Lev. 24:6).
143 Although the golden alter of incense may well have been placed just before the second curtain at the rear of the front chamber (cf. Ex. 30:1-10). Some, such as Pentecost, understand this alter to be in the Most Holy Place between the veil and the mercy seat as it is placed in this verse (cf. Ex. 30:6; 40:26; 1 Ki. 6:20-22; Lev. 16:8; For another view see Lane, Hebrews, 2:220). In any case this is the place where Gabriel and Zechariah met in Luke 1:8-11.
144 Exodus 25:10-22; 37:1-5.
145 The manna and Aaron’s rod are thought to be before the Ark in the Hebrew Scriptures, and the stone tablets are thought to be the only thing within the Ark, but the writer of Hebrews seems to know otherwise (Exodus 16:32-34; 25:16, 21; Deuteronomy 10:1-2;cf. 1 Kings 8:9; 2 Chron. 5:10; Numbers 17:10-11).
146 Exodus 25:17-22 (cf. Lev. 16:14-15); 37:7-9; Numbers 7:89.
147 This summarizing statement transitions the reader into the next topic in 6-10. Lane writes, “In verses 2-5 his attention is attracted by the division of the Mosaic tabernacle into two compartments, which is simply accentuated by the enumeration of the furnishings” (Hebrews, 221).
148 These responsibilities included: trimming of the lamps of the Menorah (Ex. 27:20-21), burning of incense on the golden altar (Ex. 30:7-8) in the morning and evening of each day, and replacing the fresh ‘loaves’ of the unleavened, consecrated bread on the table once each week (Lev. 24:8-9).
149 This is a reference to the day of atonement (Lev. 16).
150 Lane writes, “The ritual of the red heifer aptly illustrates the external nature of the cultic provisions of the old covenant. It also demonstrates that a state of defilement is a hindrance to worship (Num 19:13, 20). By grouping ‘the blood of goats and bulls’ and ‘the sprinkled ashes of a heifer,’ the writer implies that all the sacrifices of the old covenant were to provide merely an external and symbolic removal of defilement. They sanctify ..., ‘to the extent of the purging of the flesh’” (Hebrews, 2:239).
151 The blood is a synonym for the death of Christ in its sacrificial significance.
152 Lane appropriately says, “‘Conscience’... is the human organ of the religious life embracing the whole person in relationship to God .... It is the point at which a person confronts God’s holiness” (Hebrews, 2:240).
153 As the Suffering Servant Jesus was qualified for his task by the Spirit of God (cf. Isa. 42:1; 61:1).
154 This includes eternal salvation (cf. 1:14; 3:1; 5:9; 10:36).
155 Lane notes well that for a covenant to be ratified the death of the ratifer needed to be represented symbolically when he writes, “In the OT, ratification of a covenant based on sacrifice frequently entailed a self-maledictory procedure. The ratifying party invoked a curse upon himself when he swore commitment to comply with the terms of the covenant. In the transaction the ratifying party was represented by animals designated for sacrifice. The bloody dismemberment of representative animals signified the violent death of the ratifying party if he proved faithless to his oath (e.g., Gen 15:9-21; Exod 24: 3-8; Ps 50:5; Jer 34:17-20 ...)” (Hebrews, 2:242-43).
Continuing he writes, “The writer’s choice of the term φέρεσθαι, ‘to be introduced,’ ‘to be brought forward’ ... was probably influenced by the cultic use of φέρειν in the LXX, where it is associated with the representative act of offering a sacrifice. The offer is represented in and by the sacrifice he brings.... In terms of OT covenant procedure, the death of sacrificial animals was brought forward on behalf of the one ratifying the covenant ...” (Ibid).
156 “The formulation accurately reflects the legal situation that a covenant is never secured until the ratifier has bound himself to his oath by means of a representative death ...” (Ibid.).
157 Exodus 24:3-8.
158 Lane writes, “That the effects of sin also extend to the heavenly world is a corollary of the solidarity that the writer perceives between ultimate reality in heaven and its reflection on earth. The cultus on earth is inseparably linked to the situation in heaven (cf. 8:5; 9:7, 11-12, 23; 12:18-24). As defilement reaches beyond the individual to taint society and the earthly cultus, it also pollutes heavenly reality” (Hebrews, 2:247; cf. Lev. 21:15 with Heb. 12:15-16; Lev. 16:16; 20:3; 21:23; Num. 19:20, 21).
159 See Isaiah 53:12.
160 The image behind this statement is again the day of atonement where the people waited anxiously outside the sanctuary until the high priest emerged from the Most Holy Place after he had fulfilled his ministry (Lev. 16:17).
161 This is not to say that the Law was not real as in Platonic idealism, but that it pointed forward to that which was perfect or complete--a past witness to a future reality.
162 Lane writes, “As long as this sense of sin and transgression with respect to God remained, there could be no effective service of God. A decisive cleansing of the conscience is a prerequisite of unhindered access to God (10:22), and this has been achieved only through the sacrifice of Christ ...” (Hebrews, 2:261).
163 “The Day of Atonement was designated as a day for fasting (Lev 23:26-32) and the confession of sins (Lev 16:20-22). The elaborate ritual was intended to accentuate a consciousness of sins. The solemn entrance of the high priest into the Most Holy Place dramatized the fact that sin separates the congregation from God. From this perspective, the sacrifices really provided ἀνάμνησις ἀμαρτιῶν, ‘a reminder of sins,’ which brought to the consciousness of the worshipers the reality of their sins as an obstacle to fellowship with God” (Ibid.).
164 Lane writes, “The writer [of Hebrews] understands the cited passage as a word addressed by the Son to the Father on the occasion of the incarnation,...” (Ibid., 2:263).
165 Jesus’ bodily sacrifice was the “will” of God “I have come ... to do Your will, O God.”
166 Jesus is contrasted to the Levitical priests who “stands” in verse 11. Lane writes, “Jesus sits because his sacrifice requires no repetition. His heavenly session attests that the benefits of his sacrificial death endure perpetually. The sacrificial phase of his priestly ministry is completed” (Hebrews, 2:267).
167 Psalm 110 cf. Hebrews 8:1-2. “The session at the right hand puts Christ in a position where he may provide assistance to his people without having to offer sacrifices. The allusion to Ps 110:1 in vv 12-13 insists on the established firmness of his position. For the future he has only to wait for the complete subjugation of every power that resists the gracious redemptive purposes of God. Jesus’ place in the presence of God enables him to exercise in heaven the ministry of the new covenant” (Hebrews, 2:267).
168 The present tense for testifies, Μαρτυρεῖ, indicates that through the quotation of the prophetic oracle the Holy Spirit is presently speaking.
169 In light of the preceding argument, the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s oracle is tied directly to the new situation introduced by the sacrificial death of Jesus” (Lane, Hebrews, 2:269).
170 “The basis for speaking about a decisive putting away of sins is the efficacy of the sacrifice offered by Christ on the cross ...” (Hebrews, 2:269).
171 Lane writes, “The shift in literary genre from exposition to exhortation that occurs in 10:19-25 takes account of the perspectives developed in 8:1-10:18 and clarifies their relevance for the faith and life of the community addressed” (Hebrews, 2:257).
172 This unit is marked off in a kind of inclusio through the term παρρησίαν (“authorization”/ “boldness”) 10:19,35. The structure of this warning section is very similar to 5:11--6:20--Exhortation/Warning/Encouragement. Lane considers this to be the “climactic parenetic section of the sermon” (Hebrews, 2:280, 282).
173 Since this is a recapitulation of 3:1-6 and in 3:6a this household is identified as the church, then the reference in 10:21 is to the Church and more specifically, to the community addressed. In view of this Lane writes, “This statement enriches the conception of the relationship Christ sustains to his people and assures them that their worshipful approach to God will be welcomed ...” (Hebrews, 2:285).
174 Lane notes, “the exhortation is organized around three chortatives: ‘let us continue to draw near’ (v 22), ‘let us continue to hold fast’ (v 23), and ‘let us keep on caring’ (v 24). Each of these verbs is qualified by reference to the triad of Christian virtues: ‘fullness of faith’ (v 22), ‘the hope we profess’ (v 23), and ‘the stimulation of love’ (v 24)” (Hebrews, 2:281-82).
175 See Hebrews 4:16.
176 This phrase invokes the imagery of Jeremiah 31:33 where Jeremiah envisioned a new heart.
177 This imagery was anticipated in 9:18-22 where Moses sprinkled the people with blood. This sprinkling is to be associated with Jesus’ inauguration of the new covenant through his sacrificial death. Likewise, the external washing of the bodies probably has reference to Christian baptism which replaces all previous cleansing rites (see Lane, Hebrews, 2:287).
178 Lane astutely writes, “The entire community must assume responsibility to watch that no one grows weary or becomes apostate. This is possible only when Christians continue to exercise care for one another personally ...” (Hebrews, 2:290).
179 This paragraph is limited by the key terms φοβερά, φοβερόν in verses 27 and 31. It is also very similar to the warning in 6:4-8 with the following four elements: (1) the experience of Christian life [6:4-5/10:26], (2) the fact of apostasy [6:6/10:29], (3) the recognition that renewal is impossible [6:4, 6/10:26], and (4) the imposition of the curse sanctions of the covenant [6:8/10:27]. Therefore, these are complementary declarations with the difference being in the formation of the argument. Central to this unit is the cultus mentioned above in 9:11--10:18. There is no cultus in 6:4-8 (Lane, Hebrews, 2:296-297).
Continuing Lane writes, “That the writer appeals in 10:26-31 to the new cultic action of Christ indicates that these verses provide the counterpoint to 10:19-22. The earlier passage sets forth the appropriate response to the sacrifice of Christ and his entrance as high priest into the heavenly sanctuary. The provision of access to God invites sincere and earnest worship. In the present passage the inappropriate response of those who fail to appreciate their continuing need for Christ’s redemptive action commands the writer’s attention” (Hebrews, 2:291-292).
180 See verse 29 below for a definition of this persistence. This probably also has significance in view of Numbers 15:29-31 which speaks against sins of presumption.
181 Lane writes, “This follows because the only sacrifice that can remove defilement has been repudiated, and the sufficient sacrifice of Christ cannot be repeated (10:10, 12, 14)” (Hebrews, 2:293). Therefore, this does not mean that their sins are not covered, but that there is nowhere else to go to have them covered than to Christ.
182 The apostate is regarded as an adversary of God. This judgment through consuming fire recalls the what occurred to the followers of Korah (Num. 16:35; 26:10).
183 See Hebrews 2:2-3 where this logic was first expressed.
184 Deuteronomy 17:6; cf.13:8.
185 Lane writes, “The designation of Jesus as ‘the Son of God’ almost certainly has reference to the formal confession of faith which the community had openly acknowledged .... The repudiation of the confession is tantamount to a scornful rejection of the Son of God. The paradoxical notion of treating with disdain one who possesses transcendent dignity commands attention” (Hebrews, 2:294). This trampling is to treat Christ as unnecessary or useless (cf. Matt. 5:13; 7:6).
186 Lane writes, “The phrase in v 29 corroborates that 10:26-31 is descriptive of the Christian who has experienced the action of Christ upon his life. With biting irony, the writer envisions such a person as regarding Christ’s blood as ... (‘defiled,’ ‘disqualified for sacrifice’). The juxtaposition of considering defiled blood which consecrates is rhetorically forceful. A deliberate rejection of the vital power of the blood of Christ to purge sins decisively is indicated ...” (Hebrews, 2:294).
187 This may have reference to Hebrews 9:14 or the Spirit who was poured out at Pentecost (cf. Zech. 12:10 LXX; Acts 2; Heb. 2:4; 6:4).
No doubt these three actions together add up to no less than a complete rejection of the Christian faith. Lane writes, “Apostate are those who embrace the worldliness in preference to the community. They have chosen to return to the world from which they had been separated by the blood of Christ. In their lives the sacred has been collapsed into the profane. Their denial of their need for the life of the community reflects a willful hardening of their hearts (cf. 3:12-15). Apostasy reaffirms the values of the world, which permit those who stand outside the community to regard Jesus Christ with contempt (cf. 6:6). Consequently, those who once were cleansed and consecrated to God become reinfected with a permanent defilement that cannot be purged.... They experience an absolute loss, which is deserved ...” (Hebrews, 2:295).
188 This severer punishment need not be “eternal loss in hell” as Toussaint affirms (GTJ 3:77).
As a description of this severer punishment Sartarelli writes, “It cannot be considered as hell for these readers are ‘sanctified’ and ‘made perfect forever [10:10, 14].’ Rather, the imagery of judgment and fire sounds much like the believer’s discipline mentioned in chapter 6. However, that this judgment is worse than that which was given for high-handed sinning in the Old Covenant means that it must include at least death (for that was the judgment in the Old Covenant). That believers can suffer such judgment from God is a clear New Testament teaching (cf. 1 Cor. 11:30; Jas. 5:20; 1 Jn. 5:16-17). This judgment may also include subjection to the judgment on Jerusalem which was soon coming (cf. v. 25 ‘you see the day drawing near’). Thus, in abandoning Christianity and reverting back to Judaism they would become subject to the judgment that would fall on that nation (i.e., A.D. 70). Finally, this judgment may also include some loss of rewards as the author writes in verse 35 “do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward” (“Theology and Purpose of Warning Passages in Hebrews,” 13-14).
Concerning this severe punishment Hodges writes, “Many forms of divine retribution can fall on a human life which are worse than immediate death. In fact, Jeremiah made just such a complaint about the punishment inflicted on Jerusalem (Lam. 4:6, 9). One might thing also of King Saul, whose last days were burdened with such mental and emotional turmoil that death itself was a kind of release” (BKC, NT, 806).
189 See Deuteronomy 32:35a, 36a; Psalm 135:14a.
190 Lane writes, “The remembrance of past performance provides a powerful incentive for renewed commitment and fidelity in the present and for the future” (Hebrews, 2:282).
These four verse are in what some call a “persecution-form” which includes a pronouncement of a blessing, a situation of persecution, a call to rejoice, and the reason to rejoice in the promise of reward (cf. Matt. 5:11-12; Luke 6:22-23; 1 Pet. 4:13-17) (cf. Lane, Hebrews, 2:281, 96-97).
191 See 6:4.
192 The term is α῎θλησις describing intense athletic efforts (cf. 12:1-2). Lane writes, “For them, as for the writer of Hebrews, the image of the contest was an acceptable way of giving a positive interpretation of an experience of abuse ...” (Hebrews, 2:298).
193 This is the confident attitude of the person of faith before God and the world. Because of his relationship with God he can acknowledge his faith before the world (cf. also Heb. 3:6).
194 Lane notes the transitional nature of this unit when he states, “The final paragraph (vv 36-39) concludes the exhortation by introducing the key terms to be developed in the next major division of the sermon, ‘endurance’ (v 36) and ‘faith’ (v 39).
195 See Hebrews 9:15
196 Lane notes the following concerning this allusion to Isaiah 26:20: “If the brief excerpt from Isa 26:20 LXX is intended to recall the entire verse, it may indicate that there were Christians in the house church who sought to justify a lifestyle characterized by withdrawal and concealment on the basis of this text. The writer cites enough of the verse to show that he is aware of their position but refuses to accept its validity. The mode of endurance they championed was incompatible with the courageous and joyful endurance of adversity celebrated in vv 32-36 ...” (Hebrews, 2:304).
197 This reference to Habakkuk 2:3b-4 is the writers answer to the reclusive view of those who followed Isaiah 26:20.
198 Chapter 11 draws continuity between the Old and New covenants by citing those of the Old Covenant who demonstrated faith just as those of the New Covenant are to demonstrate faith. One should only emulate their faith, not their limitations.
Lane writes, “In 11:1 the writer turns from exhortation to exposition, signaling a distinct break with the preceding discussion. A smooth transition to this new unit of thought is achieved by the introduction of the motif of faithfulness in 10:38-39. The key word is πίστις, ‘faithfulness,’ supplied by the citation from Hab 2:4, furnishes a linking term to the characterization of the correlative word πίστις, ‘faith,’ in 11:1. The word then becomes the characteristic term of the first section, where it is repeated with variation twenty-four times. The opening and close of the section are indicated by an inclusio, which serves to bracket the exposition:” [11:1-2/39] (Hebrews, 2:313).
“The faith celebrated in 11:1-40 is characterized by firmness, reliability, and steadfastness. It is trust in God and in his promises (cf. 4:1-3; 6:1; 11:6, 17-19, 29). The context shows that what these attested witnesses affirm is the reliability of God, who is faithful to his promise (11:11)” (Ibid., 2:315).
199 More than a definition of faith, this is a recommendation of faith which results in life (cf. 10:39).
200 Lane writes, “The logical connection of this assertion is not with the acts of faith of the attested witnesses but with v 1, for it is a statement about faith itself. The discernment of the unseen creative activity of God behind the visible universe exemplifies the capacity of faith to demonstrate the reality of that which cannot be perceived through sense perception, which is celebrated as the essence of faith in v 1b ...” (Hebrews, 2:330).
201 This understanding comes through the written word of God.
202 Genesis 1:1, 3-21.
203 “In vv 3-31 the development is distinguished by anaphora, the rhetorical repetition of a key word or words at the beginning of successive clauses to give unity, rhythm, and solemnity to a discourse (BDF §491 ...) (Lane, Hebrews, 2:320).
204 This unit is marked off with an inclusio through the term “seen” (βλεπομένων) and a negative qualifier in verses 1 and 7 (“not seen”/ “unseen”).
205 Lane writes, “The exemplars of faith to whom reference is made in the pages of the OT ‘enjoyed the approving testimony of Scripture, and consequently of God himself, who speak by His Spirit through the written word’ ...” (Hebrews, 2:330).
206 Genesis 4:3-5.
207 Note that the writer does not affirm that Abel’s blood continues to speak to us (cf. Gen. 4:10), but that his faith is still speaking. Lane writes, “The writer affirms that Abel’s faith continues to speak to us through the written record of his action in Scripture, which transmits to us the exemplary character of his offering ...” (Hebrews, 2:335).
208 Genesis 5:21-24.
209 The LXX speaks of pleasing God rather than walking with God.
210 This is a confessional statement found in Judaism. One must believe in the basic confession of the faith.
211 This is also an expression of faith. It is unwavering hope in the promises of the God who controls the future.
212 Genesis 6.
213 This is a play off of 11:1 (τῶν μηδέπω βλεπομένων).
214 Genesis 6:1-7; see 2 Peter 2:5.
215 Genesis 6:9; Ezekiel 14:14, 20.
216 The term “heir” (κληρονόμος) ties this paragraph with the one which preceded it (cf. 11:7, 8, 9).
217 Lane writes, “11:8-19 is not merely a summary of Abraham’s life, character, and faith. It is also a succinct history of the promise of God considered in terms of Abraham’s call and migration to Canaan (11:8-10), the conception of Isaac (11:11-12), the deferment of the fulfillment of the promise (11:13-16), and the command to sacrifice Isaac (11:17-19)” (Hebrews, 2:319).
218 This describes a city firmly founded, unlike the land of Abraham’s tents. It is to be unshakable and abiding.
219 Genesis 15:1-6; 17:15-22; 18:9-15.
220 Lane notes well, “In spite of initial incredulity, in which they both shared (Gen 17:17; 18:10-12), both achieved the ability to believe that parenthood was possible” (Hebrews, 2:353).
221 Genesis 15:5; 22:17; 32:12.
222 Genesis 18:11-12; Romans 4:19; Hebrews 11:12.
223 These comments separate verses 11-12 and 17-19 which are similar in style and theme. Lane writes, “The writer placed at the center of the paragraph his most important affirmations, in order to emphasize the eschatological perspective from which the entire unit (vv 8-22) is to be understood” (Hebrews, p. 255).
224 When Abraham received Isaac from the altar of sacrifice there was a foreshadowing of the future resurrection from the dead ...”(Lane, Hebrews, 2:363).
225 Genesis 27.
226 Genesis 48.
227 Jacob is described as submitting to God’s will. It took a long time for him to get to this point (cf. Gen. 25ff).
228 Genesis 50:24-25; Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32. “Joseph’s concern for burial in the land of Canaan expressed a desire informed by faith to be associated with those who through faith became the heirs of the promises (cf. 6:12)” (Lane, Hebrews, 2:366).
229 The mention of the anticipated departure of the Israelites from Egypt in v 22 prepares literarily for the third paragraph concerning Moses and the events he set in motion with the exodus from Egypt (vv 23-31) (Lane, Hebrews, 2:321).
230 Lane writes, “The catalogue of exemplary witnesses to faith turns suddenly fro the early phase of Moses’ career to the final act in the dramatic sequence of events that were the prelude to the Exodus. Although Moses remains the subject of the main verb (‘by faith he celebrated the Passover’), there is a subtle transition in v 28 from exemplary persons to exemplary events, and this shift in emphasis is reflected in vv 29-30 as well as in the enumeration of the accomplishments of faith in vv 33-38” (Hebrews, 2:376).
231 Lane notes, “The writer had earlier referred to the faithlessness of the wilderness generation in 3:16-19. It is not surprising that in a catalogue of exemplary persons and events he passes over in silence the forty-year period during which those who had experienced the celebration of the Passover, the exodus from Egypt, and the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea wandered aimlessly in the wilderness. Not until the entrance into Canaan can a recital of the acts of faith be resumed” (Hebrews, 2:378).
232 Joshua 2:1.
233 Through this rhetorical question the writer transitions from one version of the exemplary list to the next version of an enumeration of names in rapid succession followed by an abstract of the accomplishments of faith that extend the historical survey into the Maccabean period.
234 Lane notes, “This is a common homiletical and literary idiom for indicating that time and space are limited ...” (Hebrews, 2:382).
235 By answering in this way the writer is noting that he is going to abbreviate the matter under discussion.
236 Note that these names are not given in chronological order. Perhaps this list of judges comes from 1 Samuel 12:11 (LXX).
237 Judges 6--8.
238 Judges 4--5.
239 Judges 12--16.
240 Judges 11--12.
241 1 Samuel 16--2 Samuel 24.
242 1 Samuel 1--15.
243 Perhaps the writer has Gideon (Judges 6:12-16; 7:7), Barak (Judges 4:6-7, 14), Samson (Judges 13:5), and David (2 Samuel 7:11) as those who obtained specific blessings that had been promised by God.
244 Perhaps this refers to Samson (Judges 14:5-6), David (1 Samuel 17:34-37) and/or Daniel (Dan. 6:23-24).
245 Perhaps Daniel’s three friends, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael (Dan. 3:19-28, 49-50).
246 David (1 Sam. 17:45-47; cf. Ps. 144:10), Elijah from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:1-3), Elisha from Jehoram (2 Kings 6:26-32), Jeremiah from Johoiakim (Jer. 26:7-24).
247 See 1 Sam. 2:4 (LXX); Perhaps Samson is in view (Judges 16:17-21, 25-30; cf. Judges 15:19).
248 This was true of Gideon, Barak, Jephthah, David and even Samuel (cf. 1 Sam. 7:5-14) and others.
249 Widow at Zarephath of Sidon (1 Ki. 17:71-24), the Shunemite woman (2 Ki. 4:18-37). Lane writes, “In the latter case, the mother’s haste in going to Elisha on Mount Carmel despite her own deep distress, and her quiet response to inquiry, ‘Everything is all right’ (2 Kgs 4:22-26), were expressions of her own firm faith that she would indeed receive her son from the dead ‘by resurrection’” (Hebrews, 2:388).
250 For these people deliverance only came through suffering and martyrdom. Lane offers some helpful descriptions of the kinds of events which occurred after the close of the Hebrew canon (Hebrews, 2:388-90).
251 2 Chronicles 24:20-21; Matthew 23:27; Luke 13:34.
252 Lane writes, “The summarizing statement in vv 39-40 serves to conclude the paragraph and the section as a whole. The new feature in these verses is the focus upon the relevance of the recital for the Christian community in v 40. There the writer speaks of God’s provision for something better ‘with us in mind’ (περὶ ἡμῶν), namely, that these attested exemplars should not reach perfection ‘without us’ (χωρὶς ἡμῶν). The introduction of the plural pronouns in the first person provides a point of transition to the following section, which calls attention to the necessary endurance that must characterize the Christian community in its own struggle with hostility and adversity ...” (Hebrews, 2:322).
253 The realization of particular promises (11:11, 33) is not the same of definitive fulfillment of the promise. They did not receive the promise of the eternal inheritance (cf. 9:15).
254 The purging of sin with the consequence that believers are consecrated to the service of God (cf. 10:14; cf. 9:9; 10:1). This is the ultimate realization of salvation--the entrance into the promised inheritance.
255 This unit is set off by a shift in genre from historical recital to pastoral exhortation. This theme of endurance, ὑπομονή, was introduced in 10:36.
256 The imagery which is being used is that of an athletic contest in a stadium or arena. The witnesses are the men and women in chapter 11 who have received acknowledgment from God because of their constancy of faith (11:2, 4, 5, 39). They are unified, like a cloud, in their witness to the integrity of faith. Lane writes, “The emphasis in v 1 ... falls on what Christians see in the host of witnesses rather than on what they see in Christians” (Hebrews, 2:408).
257 This too comes out of the metaphor of a race where those who would participate would strip their clothing before running so that nothing could impede them during the race.
258 See Hebrews 2:10.
259 Paul now moves from the running metaphor to a boxing one involving bloodshed and even death (cf. 1 Cor. 9:24, 26).
260 Lane writes, “The expression is drawn from the games, in which the most dangerous contest was the armed boxing match. Boxing was the supreme test of the pentathalon, and bloody wounds were commonplace.... According to the writer’s contemporary, the stoic philosopher Seneca, the true athlete was the man who ‘saw his own blood’ .... IN the immediate context the allusion is to the violent death of Jesus who endured crucifixion .... Jesus had to suffer more degrading shame and deeper hostility than anything yet experienced by the congregation. On this understanding the writer’s intention is to say that the community had not yet given the fullest measure in their struggle against sin” (Hebrews, 2:418). This may well have its reality in the realm of persecution. Perhaps the “sin” to be overcome is an enemy and that is why it is personified.
261 Lane writes, “The designation of God as ὁ πατὴρ πνευμάτων, ‘the Father of spirits,’ reflects the influence of the Septuagint, where the notion of transcendence is integral to the expression (Num 16:22; 27:16; LXX: ‘the Father of spirits and of all flesh’; cf 2 Macc 3:24: ‘Sovereign of spirits and all authority’). The divine title is to be interpreted in terms of the two-sphere thinking characteristic of Hebrews. ‘The Father of spirits’ is the transcendent God to whom the heavenly world is also subject .... As the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, God’s right to discipline us and to demand our devotion proceeds from the highest authority” (Hebrews, 2:424).
262 The writer again moves into the athletic metaphor urging his readers to follow divine wisdom (Proverbs 4:26, LXX) for their direction.
263 Lane notes that in the absence of clear literary indices, the limits of this section must be determined thematically with the shift from the response of the community as it experiences suffering to the peril of rejecting the God who continues to speak in to the church through his Son and through the Scriptures (Hebrews, 2:445).
264 Lane writes, “In this context ‘peace’ is an objective reality that results from the redemptive accomplishment of Christ in his sacrificial death on the cross. It is a gift of eschatological salvation as well as a sign that points to the presence of the new age and to the future perfection.... Peace denotes the objective reality of the community. It also is exhibited in the solidarity of responsibility for the welfare of one another (cf Rom 14:9; 1 Pet 3:11 in the context of 3:8-12 for similar emphasis)” (Hebrews, 2:449).
265 See Deuteronomy 29:17. This image is of a root that grows up and produces poisonous fruit. The stubborn disposition displays itself in unbelief and apostasy--arrogant unbelief (cf. Heb. 3:7-19).
266 See Genesis 25; 27.
267 This is done through contrasting Israel’s encounter with God at Sinai and the new covenant encounter that takes place at Zion, the city of the living God (Lane, Hebrews, 2:449).
268 See Hebrews 2:1-4.
269 Toussaint writers, “The writer is looking back to Mount Sinai where God spoke to Israel through Moses. The voice came from Mount Sinai, so it was ‘on earth’ as v 25 states” (“The Eschatology of the Warning Passages in the Book of Hebrews” GTJ 3(1982):79).
As Toussaint describes this ‘judgment’ he relates it correctly to the wilderness generation writing, “It could be the judgment of death fro flagrant disregard of the law or it may be the failure to enter the promised land. Probably it is the latter alternative since the entire generation failed in this regard” (Ibid.). If this is so, than the judgment is not one of retribution, but of discipline (unless one is willing to say that the entire generation which died in the wilderness was not redeemed (Ex. 12)!
270 Exodus 19:18; cf. Judges 5:4-5; Psalm 68:8; 77:18.
271 Haggai 2:6. No doubt, this will occur after the millennium as described in Revelation 21. Nevertheless, the term in verse 27 (“being shaken,” τῶν σαλευομένων) is present tense viewing the final shaking as already started and in process. This again may be a reference to the immanent judgment of Jerusalem. Toussaint argues correctly that this is not descriptive of the judgment seat of Christ (GTJ 3 (1982):80), but that does not mean it could not be descriptive of a disciplinary aspect.
272 Deuteronomy 4:24; cf. 9:3. This imagery is meant to recall the severity of the judgment the apostate can anticipate. Deuteronomy 4:24 provides a fitting conclusion for Hebrews in light of the larger context of Deuteronomy, since the people are on the verge of entering the promised land [Deuteronomy 4:21] and are at the end of their pilgrimage (Lane, Hebrews, 2:487-88). Anything short of reverence before God by a believer will incur God’s discipline. Therefore, the purpose of this final warning is to admonish the readers to heed reverently to God’s revelation lest they invoke God’s consuming discipline upon themselves.
273 For a discussion concerning the integrity of the book of Hebrews and chapter 13 see Lane who notes that those who argue against integrity argue that chapter 13 begins too abruptly, has no parallel from with chapters 1--12, and is without continuity in content. Nevertheless, the integrity can be affirmed with confidence in light of the evident links between this material and the preceding chapters both in content and thrust, the vocabulary, lines of argumentation, sustained appeal to texts from the Pentateuch and the Psalms, recurrence of key concepts, the structure of the chapter, and literary style of the writer (Hebrews, 2:495-97).
The transition into chapter 13 occurs in 12:28-29 where they writer urges his readers to “show gratitude by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire.” As Lane writes, “What this entails demands the specification that is provided in 13:1-21” (Hebrews, 2:496; cf. Hebrews 13:15-16, 21).
274 Hebrews 13:1-6 is a summons to the anxious members of the church to assume their place within the ranks of the confessing community. They are to affirm their trust in God’s pledge to be constantly present out of His covenant loyalty.
275 This allusion almost certainly refers to the three visitors Abraham and Sarah showed hospitality to in Genesis 18:1-21. Lane writes, “It throws into bold relief the element of surprise that is sometimes stressed in the biblical accounts, when mysterious strangers become guests, revealing to their hosts the promise they are carrying with them.... The emphasis in Hebrews was calculated to stir within the community a disposition to welcome strangers in the expectation that they will be bearers of God’s abundance” (Hebrews, 2:513).
276 The passages which are alluded to are Moses’ exhortation to Israel as they are about to enter the land in Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 (cf. Genesis 28:15) and Psalm 117:6 (LXX) [118:6 English].
277 The word for spoke is in the aorist tense (ἐλάλησαν) giving the sense that the former leaders are now deceased. Their preaching belongs to the community’s past.
278 Lane writes, “Accordingly, v 8 is not to be interpreted as an acclamation of Jesus’ timeless ontological immutability, corresponding to the assertion that the Son remains ὁ αὐτός, ‘the same,’ in 1:10-12 .... This reference is rather to the immutability of the gospel message proclaimed by the deceased leaders in the recent past .... Although the preachers change, the preaching must remain the same. The unchangeableness of the revelation is a consequence of the transcendent dignity of Jesus Christ, the originator of the preaching (2:3) ...” (Hebrews, 2:528). Jesus is declared to remain the object of faith for the assembly now (‘today’) as he was formerly (‘yesterday’) and will be forever (‘unto the ages’).
279 This verse is transitional to the next section of exhortation (13:10-14). Nevertheless it is to be tied to 13:7 as part of a unit. Lane makes the following helpful comparison with 13:7 and 13:9 to demonstrate their correspondence:
Exhortation (v 7)
Warning (v 9)
Do not allow yourselves to be led away
your former leaders
strange [itinerant preachers]
the [one] word of God
diverse [human] teachings
Consider the accomplishment of their conduct
their adherents are not benefited
280 See Psalm 104:14-15: “You bring forth food from the earth... and bread to strengthen the human heart.” It seems that this acclamation was evoked in the blessing pronounced before every Jewish meal (Lane, Hebrews, 2:534) identifying every meal as cultic in character. Also the plural of “foods” was used in the OT to distinguish pure from impure foods (Lev. 11:34). Thus lane writes, “This, then, is the background to the ‘strange teachings’ that the heart must be strengthened with food, resulting in power to praise God for the food as well as for the grace experienced in redemption. The consumption of foods, it was urged, can bring us into the presence of God and actualize his lordship because it provides an occasion for the giving of thanks ....
The evidence shows an extensively prepared biblical and Jewish conception that the people of God should eat and drink in order to praise him. In the eating of prescribed foods were experienced the goodness and grace of God that rejoices the heart and strengthens it for the praise of God. Every meal time provided the faithful Jew with strength and an occasion to acknowledge the grace of God. At the same time it was a sober reminder that ultimately one can thank God fully for redemption only through the thank offering and the fellowship meal in the presence of the altar in Jerusalem.
The writer in Hebrews rejects this line of argumentation. He declares that the grace of God was not mediated through the celebration of cultic meals. It was useless to imitate the sacrificial meals in Jerusalem, as the Jews of the Diaspora sought to do. The church will not find its security in such earthly assurances. On the contrary, the grace of God is bestowed through the word of promise concerning the redemptive efficiency of the death of Jesus (2:9) and through prayer (4:16). At their altar (13:10) Christians participate in a sacrifice far superior to the Jerusalem sacrifices” (Hebrews, 2:534-35).
281 Leviticus 16:27.
282 Lane writes, “The writer’s interest is not, however, merely historical. That is clear from the explicit comparison with Lev 16 in vv 11-12. He is concerned to show that Jesus fulfilled the Levitical requirement that the carcass of the bull and the goat sacrificed on the Day of Atonement be conveyed ‘outside the camp’ and there be incinerated. This ordinance was fulfilled when Jesus, as the sin offering of the new covenant, died ‘outside the city gate, ‘i.e. outside the holy city and the sacred precincts ...” (Hebrews, 2:542).
283 This is similar to the Gospels’ exhortation to deny oneself (but not to deny Jesus) by taking up his cross and following Him. Historically God was considered to dwell inside the camp and those who were impure were to go outside the camp because God was unwilling to look on any shamefulness or defilement (Deut. 23:14). Nevertheless, after the incident with the golden calf God chose to demonstrate his presence outside the camp (Exodus 33:7-8). Lane writes, “The erection of the golden calf signified the rejection of God. Consequently, God departed from the formerly sacred enclosure and displayed his presence only at the tent pitched ‘outside the camp’ (Exod 33:7-10). An attractive proposal is that the play on the phrase ‘outside the camp’ in v 11-13 was designed to call to mind the occasion when God manifested his presence outside the wilderness encampment. The humiliation of Jesus and his death as an outcast show that God has again been rejected by his people. His presence can be enjoyed only ‘outside the camp,’ where Jesus was treated with contempt. Anyone who seeks to drew near to God must go ‘outside the camp’ and approach him through Jesus .... This is the character of genuine discipleship and the condition for the acceptable worship of God” (Hebrews, 2:544).
284 There are three basic interpretations to this verse: (1) bearing the disgrace of worldliness--the place of Christians is not in holy places with the security which is offered in cultic performances but in the uncleanness of the world, (2) a call to leave earthly assurances and to pursue the heavenly world where Jesus completed his redemptive action at the heavenly altar, and (3) an exhortation to sever the emotional and social ties with the Jewish community that continue to characterize the members of the house church. The immediate context commends this interpretation best (see Lane, Hebrews, 2:545-46).
285 See again 11:8-10, 13-16; 12:18-24 for this pilgrimage theme. Lane writes, “Discipleship may be described in terms of the pilgrimage of faith not merely from the sacred precincts of the wilderness camp (v 13) but from the city that lacks permanence (v 14a)” (Hebrews, 2:546).
286 See Hosea 14:13. This is a praise of thanksgiving.
287 Lane writes, “The ‘leading out’ is the fundamental redemptive action of God under both the old and new covenant. Upon it are based the exclusive claims of God to his people’s allegiance, on the one hand, and, on the other, the ground for trust in God’s power and readiness to stand by his covenant people. The intervention of God in leading his people from Egypt in the Torah (e.g., Exod 6:7; 20:1-2; Lev 19:36; 25:38; 26:13; Num 5:31; Deut 5:6) and in the Prophets (e.g., Isa 64:11-14) and from the realm of the dead in the Psalter (e.g., Ps 30:3; 71:20; 86:13) prefigured his decisive action in raising Jesus from the dead” (Hebrews, 2:561).
288 This is an allusion to Moses who is the model for the great Shepherd, Jesus (Isaiah 63:11-14 [LXX]).
289 Jeremiah 31:31-34; Zechariah 9:11; Exodus 24:8
Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines