Hebrews Overview

bookoverviewheb

Some Superiors from the Book of Hebrews

by Chance Hicks

The book of Hebrews was probably written by the apostle Paul to the Jewish Christians in the city of Jerusalem and in the area surrounding Jerusalem.  The recipients of the book of Hebrews were struggling with a problem.  The temple was still standing in the city of Jerusalem, and the grandeur of the temple, along with other things, was tempting these Christians to return to Judaism.  Paul wrote to these Christians to show the superiority of Christ and the Christian system to the Law of Moses.  Paul shows the Hebrew Christians that they have a superior spokesman, a superior sacrifice, and a superior system.

SUPERIOR SPOKESMAN

Paul shows the superiority of Christ as a spokesman.  Christ is superior to prophets (Heb.  1:1-3), angels (Heb.  1:4-2:18), Moses (Heb.  3), and Joshua (Heb.  4).  Christ is superior to the prophets because He is a prophet- “hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,” a priest – “when he had by himself purged our sins,” and a king – “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb.  1:1-3).  The angels were to worship Christ (Heb.  1:6), and the one who is worshipped is superior to the worshipper.  Moses was a servant in the house of God (Heb.  3:5; Num.  12:7), but Christ was a Son over His own house (Heb.  3:6).  Christ is God, eternal (John

1:1-3), and active in creation (Heb.  1:2).  Therefore, Christ created the system in which Moses was a servant.

The builder, or creator, is superior to the building, or the creation.  Joshua led the people to an earthly rest in an earthly promised land, but Christ will lead those who obey Him to a heavenly rest in a heavenly promised land (Heb.  4:8-9).

SUPERIOR SACRIFICE

Not only did Paul show the Christians in and around Jerusalem that they had a superior spokesman but they also had a superior sacrifice.  The superior sacrifice was the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.  The sacrifice of Christ is superior because of His sinlessness and because of its singleness.  Christ “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb.  4:15).  The priests who offered sacrifices under the Law of Moses had to first offer for themselves and then for the sins of the people (Heb.  5:3), but this was not the case with Christ.  He did not need to offer for Himself, but He simply offered Himself for all mankind (John 3:16).  Christ was the perfect sacrifice to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29).  The sacrifices offered under the Law of Moses were offered every year because they could not take away sins.  The offerings had to be made year after year after year, but they still could not take away the sins of the people.  Christ did not have to offer Himself year after year.  His sacrifice was a one time sacrifice (Heb.  9:28; 10:14).

SUPERIOR SYSTEM

Paul showed the Hebrew Christians that they had a superior spokesman, a superior sacrifice, and even a superior system.  In Hebrews chapter 8, Paul contrasts the two systems.  The first covenant was not faultless because it could not take away sins (Heb.  8:7).  However, the first covenant was perfect for the purpose for which it was intended.  It was a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ (Gal.  3:19-25).  The new covenant was superior because it would bring a more intimate knowledge of God.  The new law would not be written on stone but in the minds of the people (Heb.  8:10).  Under the old covenant, people were born into the covenant and then taught, but this would not be the case with the new covenant (Heb.  8:11).  People must be taught before they can enter into the new covenant (John 6:44, 45).  Under the old covenant the sins of the people were remembered every year, but under the new covenant when the sins were remitted they were done away never to be brought up again (Heb.  8:12).  May we remember when we are tempted to return to the world that we have some superiors as Christians: a superior spokesman, a superior sacrifice, and a superior system.

–Chance Hicks, Visitor, March 22, 2009

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Hebrews 11

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The Time Would Fail Me

Adam B. Cozort

“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets” (Heb. 11:32). This short verse in Hebrews eleven provides us with a glaring nugget of reality when it comes to God’s view of mankind.

Hebrews chapter eleven is often called “the Hall of Faith.” It is called such because of the numerous men and women of faith mentioned in this chapter and the wonderful depictions of their faith offered by the Hebrews writer. However, such a title has also often served as a source of misunderstanding and apprehension in the minds of many people as they look back on the lives of these faithful men and women. There tends to be an awe and admiration in effect for these faithful individuals that engenders a perceived pedestal to which “normal men” cannot reach. This was never the intention or insinuation of the chapter.

These individuals are being offered as examples to those in the first century, as well as us today, of what it means to be faithful to God. They are well known for their faith, having had it recorded in the Scriptures previously. Nonetheless, the humanity of these individuals is also shown. They were not perfect, nor did they claim to be. They fell short, faltered, and even brought about the wrath of the Lord on occasion. Yet they did not turn from God, but continued with all of their might to serve Him to the best of their ability.

That being said, God is not offering them as evidence that we can never be as good as they were, or that we will never attain the level of faithfulness they attained. In fact it is quite the opposite. The Hebrews writer would encourage his readers by stating, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2a). That great cloud of witnesses referenced is the individuals mentioned in chapter eleven, who serve to show us how we can be faithful as they were faithful. They are not present to intimidate us, but rather to encourage us forward to greater faithfulness in service to God.

The most important point for each of us to understand is that there are only two groups of people in the sight of God: the faithful, and the unfaithful. Jesus would compare these two groups to sheep and goats in Matthew 25:31-46. Yet there is never described a dividing of the sheep into strongest and weakest, most accumulated sins and least accumulated sins, or any such thing.

When we stand before God, we will be judged based upon one criterion, how we lived in comparison to His word. We will not be compared to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob or Moses. Instead we will be compared to the book, and whether we have lived our lives in service to Him, and reverence to His will.

When it came to giving examples of the faithful, time would not allow a full listing of the wonderful examples found in the Old Testament. Instead, the writer lays before us a few examples to whet our appetite to want to have the faith of these men.

Because time would fail us to list and examine the lives of all that have lived faithfully, both during and since Bible times, may we always remember the lesson those lives of faith deliver to us every day of our lives; so that, when that day of judgment arrives, our names may be listed with theirs.

Role Models

Role Models and Chapter

215

by David Lemmons

There has been a lot of talk and there have been several articles written in recent days regarding role models.  One can barely keep up with the latest scandals that are being publicized about some of the most popular role models chosen by young people of our day.  Some famous people like Charles Barkely may wish to deny that they are role models, but the rich and famous in sports and entertainment are nonetheless SELECTED for that position by millions of young aspiring sports figures and entertainers and admirers.  We could wish that the rich and famous might be more aware of and be more responsible with the influence they wield on the minds of young people.  However, it does not seem that this dream is getting any closer to reality.

For Christian youth, the Bible urges caution and prudence in the selection of persons to look to for guidance in life.  Parents (esp., FATHERS, Eph 6:4) need to be careful in training their charges regarding the selection of role models.  Clearly, the people of God are to imitate God (Lev 11:44-45; 1 Pet 1:16; Eph 5:1).  The only Perfect Role Model for young people today REMAINS, as always, the Lord Jesus Christ (Mt 16:24; Jn 13:15; Mt 11:29; Jn 13:34; Rom 13:14; 1 Cor 11:1; Eph 5:2; Phil 2:5; Col 3:13; 1 Pet 2:21; 4:1).  God’s people are to AVOID imitating the wrong folks (Lev 20:23; Deut 18:9; 2 Kings 17:15; Mt 23:2,3; 1 Cor 15:33; 2 Pet 3:17; 1 Jn 3:11,12; Rev 2:14).

This being said, we are blessed by our God to have revealed to us many magnificent role models in the written Word.  Our New Testaments contain a total of 260 chapters.  Chapter number 215 is an especially helpful one for us to use if we have concern about role models.  Chapter number 215 is Hebrews 11.  Young people ought often to be directed to this great chapter by loving and concerned parents.  Let us briefly notice some of the wonderful lessons taught to us by the faithful ones mentioned in this great chapter…

  • From Abel (Heb 11:4)… Worship in faith.
  • From Enoch (Heb 11:4)… Please God.
  • From Noah (Heb 11:7)… Look toward things not seen; fear God;  and don’t live like the world around you.
  • From Abraham (Heb 11:8)… Have a true pilgrim heart.
  • From Sarah (Heb 11;11)…  Consider God to be a promise-keeper.
  • From Abraham (Heb 11:19)… Leave God’s problems to God and simply obey.
  • From Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph (Heb 11:20-22)… Face death with hope!
  • From the parents of Moses (Heb 11:23; cf., Acts 4:19,20)… Be without the fear of the civil authorities when their pronouncements place you in conflict with the will of God.
  • From Moses (Heb 11:24-27)… Choose wisely; keep looking to the heavenly reward; persevere; be identified with the people of God.
  • From the Israelites at the Red Sea (Heb 11:29)… Submit to GOD’S PLAN!
  • From Rahab (Heb 11:31)… Fear God and DO accordingly.
  • From Gideon (Heb 11:32)… Lead others to glorify God.
  • From Samson (Heb 11:32)… Use your strength to glorify God.
  • From Jephthah (Heb 11:32; Judges 11:27)… Allow the Lord to be the Judge.
  • From David (Heb 11:32; Acts 13:22)… Be a man/woman after God’s own heart.
  • From Samuel (Heb 11:32)… Allow yourself to be committed to the Lord FOR LIFE!!!

Hebrews 12:1-2… “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. {2} Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Role Models

ROLE MODELS AND CHAPTER 215by David Lemmons

The rich and famous in sports and entertainment are selected as role models by millions of young aspiring sports figures and entertainers and admirers. We could wish that the rich and famous might be more aware of and be more responsible with the influence they wield on the minds of young people. However, it does not seem that this dream is getting any closer to reality.

For Christian youth, the Bible urges caution and prudence in the selection of persons to look to for guidance in life. Parents (esp., FATHERS, Eph 6:4) need to be careful in training their charges regarding the selection of role models. Clearly, the people of God are to imitate God (Lev 11:44-45; 1 Pet 1:16; Eph 5:1). The only Perfect Role Model for young people today REMAINS, as always, the Lord Jesus Christ (Mt 16:24; Jn 13:15; Mt 11:29; Jn 13:34; Rom 13:14; 1 Cor 11:1; Eph 5:2; Phil 2:5; Col 3:13; 1 Pet 2:21; 4:1). God’s people are to AVOID imitating the wrong folks (Lev 20:23; Deut 18:9; 2 Kings 17:15; Mt 23:2,3; 1 Cor 15:33; 2 Pet 3:17; 1 Jn 3:11,12; Rev 2:14).

This being said, we are blessed by our God to have revealed to us many magnificent role models in the written Word. Our New Testaments contain a total of 260 chapters. Chapter number 215 is an especially helpful one for us to use if we have concern about role models. Chapter number 215 is Hebrews 11. Young people ought often to be directed to this great chapter by loving and concerned parents. Let us briefly notice some of the wonderful lessons taught to us by the faithful ones mentioned in this great chapter…

  • From Abel (Heb 11:4)… Worship in faith.
  • From Enoch (Heb 11:4)… Please God.
  • From Noah (Heb 11:7)… Look toward things not seen; fear God; and don’t live like the world around you.
  • From Abraham (Heb 11:8)… Have a true pilgrim heart.
  • From Sarah (Heb 11;11)… Consider God to be a promise-keeper.
  • From Abraham (Heb 11:19)… Leave God’s problems to God and simply obey.
  • From Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph (Heb 11:20-22)… Face death with hope!
  • From the parents of Moses (Heb 11:23; cf., Acts 4:19,20)… Be without the fear of the civil authorities when their pronouncements place you in conflict with the will of God.
  • From Moses (Heb 11:24-27)… Choose wisely; keep looking to the heavenly reward; persevere; be identified with the people of God.
  • From the Israelites at the Red Sea (Heb 11:29)… Submit to GOD’S PLAN!
  • From Rahab (Heb 11:31)… Fear God and DO accordingly.
  • From Gideon (Heb 11:32)… Lead others to glorify God.
  • From Samson (Heb 11:32)… Use your strength to glorify God.
  • From Jephthah (Heb 11:32; Judges 11:27)… Allow the Lord to be the Judge.
  • From David (Heb 11:32; Acts 13:22)… Be a man/woman after God’s own heart.
  • From Samuel (Heb 11:32)… Allow yourself to be committed to the Lord FOR LIFE!!!

Hebrews 12:1-2… “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. {2} Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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