Hebrews, James, Peter, John, Jude

Southern Christian University

Lesson Hebrews #1

James A. Turner


Read all of the references and they will help you “to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.”


The epistle to the Hebrews in my judgment, it and the book of Romans, are two of the hardest epistles of the New Testament. Other than the Revelation, they are the hardest books of the New Testament to understand.  But both are great books!  The primary purpose of this book was to try to prevent a massive falling away on the part of these Hebrew Christians.  . In order to carry out the primary purpose the writer does two things. In the first twelve chapters he continues to show the superiority of Christ and the New Testament religion over Moses and the Old Testament religion, and as he does this he continues to give one exhortation after another to encourage them to be faithful to Christ.


It is generally thought by Bible students that these were third generation Christians, and it looks like it is somewhat the pattern for third generation Christians to not be as faithful as first or second generation Christians. There is danger of that third generation of having somewhat of an inherited religion, not studying enough for themselves, and therefore not having the depth of faith and commitment that they should have; and the writer continues to emphasis in this book what a lack of faith will do.  A lack of faith was their primary problem. 


The Jewish religion, was a God‑given religion, and it had many things in regard to  outward attractions that the New Testament religion, does not have.  The Old Testament religion had much more to offer from the standpoint of outward attraction.  Consider some of the denominational churches today, and how they thrive on those things that have to do with outward attraction. The Old Testament religion surely had many things. Think about the three annual feasts, and all the people going from the southern extreme of Beersheba or at Dan, the northern extreme and journeying to Jerusalem to worship. They would have been walking, and on those three occasions as they journeyed toward Jerusalem, the crowds would get larger and larger. Just image how those journeys provided for a lot of good fellowship, and a spirit of unity for all age groups, and then when they had those feasts, they were to be all together joyful in keeping those feasts. Consider also the fact that something was going on at the temple all the time. The fire on the altar of burnt offering was not to go out at the first tabernacle and then at the temple. From the first five chapters of Leviticus we learn that when a person learned that they had sinned, he or she, was to carry the kind of animal that was specified by the law to the altar at the tabernacle.  The sinner was to lay his hand on the head of the animal and kill the animal. The priest then sprinkled the blood and the other things that the law provided to make atonement for the person that had sinned. Would not this mean that the altar of burnt offerings would be in use nearly all the time? The garments of the priests were gorgeous and attractive. On the tenth day of the seventh month was the day of animal atonement (Lev. 16:1-34), and that day also had many attractive things about it.


The New Testament religion does not have much in the way of outward attraction. Paul was afraid for the Corinthians. He says, “as the serpent beguiled Eve with his craftiness, I am afraid that your minds may be corrupted by the purity and the simplicity that is toward Christ (II Corinthians 11:3).” The New Testament religion is just too simple for many people today. In respect to outward attractions, I guess baptism and the Lord’s Supper' would be the two main things from the standpoint of outward attractions, but the Old Testament religion had many things.


In regard to the study of this book, if you will think of hearing one side of a telephone conversation, as you read this book, it will make for a better understanding. Have you ever listened to one side of a telephone conversation long enough that you could almost tell who the person is talking to and what they were talking about. Read the epistle to the Hebrews with that in mind. These Hebrew Christians were reasoning that we know that the Old Testament religion is a God-given religion, it is a great religion, and it was given by the prophets and the angels. And so Paul in chapter one deals with that. Yes, the Old Testament religion was a great religion, but today he has spoken to us through his Son. “God, having of old times spoken unto the fathers and the prophets, by divers’ portions and in divers’ manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son.” The fact that Christ is God's Son ought to be enough for us to know that the New Testament religion is a greater religion than the Old Testament religion.


Do you remember how Moses prophesied that “a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up from among your brethren likened unto me and unto him shall ye hearken in all things and whosoever shall not hearken to the voice of the prophet shall be cut off from among the people (Deuteron0my 18:15-19).”  This passage is quoted in Acts 3:22-23 in that second gospel sermon. So Christ is not just a prophet, but as Peter said in that second sermon, all the prophets from Samuel on had continued to speak of Christ. So he is that great prophet that was to come. "whom he  hath appointed him heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds; who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance and upholding all things by the word of his power,  when he had made purification for sin, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. It was only through that process of offering up animal blood that the priest back there under the law could help to make atonement for the people, and it was not complete atonement; but Christ made purification by his death on the cross and sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. Verse 4, "having become so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they." Then he quotes -- And again think of these verses here beginning with verse five and compare this with the third chapter of the book of Romans where Paul put together a number of passages from the book of Psalms to prove that the Jews were sinners like the Gentiles. Here he puts together a number of passages primarily from the Psalms about Christ to show that he is much greater than the prophets and the angels. We will not read all of them, but that is the purpose of them, and he does a good job of it.


For centuries there has been much discussion as to who wrote Hebrews. Early writers, sometimes referred to as church fathers, balance on the side of Paul being the author. In my judgment the internal evidence of the book itself is strongly in favor of Paul. If he did not write it then who is the writer? Who would be better qualified to write such a book? He wrote Galatians and Romans, the other two books which deal with the relationship of the Old and New Testaments. I will try to remember to call attention to a lot of little things in the book which strongly indicate that Paul is the author.


I would like to call attention to the passage that is quoted in verse five, "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?" I can remember when I thought that reference had reference to the virgin birth of Christ. But in Acts 13:33 Paul was teaching the people in the Jewish synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia about the primary facts of the gospel: The death,  burial, and resurrection of Christ (I Corinthians. 15:1-4), and he applies it to the resurrection of Christ. "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?" Let us move to verse thirteen, " But of which of the angels hath he said at any time, sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet?”  Christ had made purification for sin when he died on the cross. After that period of forty days (Acts 1:4), he ascended (Acts 1:9-11), and sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. How long will he be sitting there?  The  quotation is from Psalms 110:1. "Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet." Couple this statement with I Corinthians 15:20-26. It does not leave any time for an earthly reign. The last enemy that he is going to conquer is death, and then he will deliver up the kingdom to God the Father. Christ is now reigning on David's throne, and he will reign until this is fulfilled, “until I make thine enemies thy footstool of thy feet.” Have you read my short outline entitled, “Christ Is Now Reigning On David’s Throne?


Chapter Two

"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest at any time we drift away from them. For if the word spoken through angels  (the law) proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation?”  Verse three is a rhetorical question carrying its own answer. No man can escape it, if he neglects so great a salvation. No man has to become a very immoral and wicked person in order to neglect his salvation. In fact, the only thing he has to do is just refuse to believe on Christ. John 3:18 reads, "he that believeth on him is not judged, but he that believeth not on him is judged already because he has not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  All that a child of God has got to do to be in a lost condition again is just to neglect his salvation, just do nothing in the way of doing those things that the Lord has instructed us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:12-16), and he will loose his salvation. " How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation.”  I would like for you to think about John 3:16 in connection with that statement,  God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  When we think of the salvation in Christ, that salvation has to do with every man who has ever lived. Note that verse nine of this chapter says that, “by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man   Hebrews 9:15 reads, "that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions of those that were under the first”. So going even back to Adam,  those who stayed in covenant relationship with God by the offering up of animal sacrifices,  when Christ died on the cross, his blood made complete atonement for them. It is hard for us to understand how that in one sense, they were forgiven and another sense not completely, but that is what this book teaches. how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation; which having at first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard. God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will?”


Let us be reminded that the primary purpose of the apostles being baptized with the Holy Spirit and receiving all of those miraculous abilities, and then by the laying on of their hands, giving miraculous gifts to others, was for the purpose of aiding in the giving and confirming of the New Testament.  I Corinthians 13: 8, plainly teaches that when that time came, then those miraculous things would be done away with, and we do not have people with miraculous ability today.  God in his great wisdom saw the need for the miraculous period, which is described as the childhood period of the church (I Corinthians. 13:9-12; Ephesians 4:8-16). It was through that miraculous ability that the will of Christ was revealed to the apostles (John 14:26,16:7-16), and to some of those that they laid their hands on.


Verse five, " For not unto angels did he subject the world to come, whereof we speak. But one has somewhere testified, saying.Then he quotes from the eight Psalm. If you will read Psalm eight along with Genesis 1:28, 1 think you will surely be convinced that that passage is not talking about Christ, but about man. Some have been ready to apply this reference to Christ, but it is talking about man, that God put everything under the feet of man, that he made him a little lower than angels, “and didst set him over the works of thy hands: thou hath put all things in subjection under his feet.” That is what Genesis 1:28 says that God did. Then  he says, "For that he subjected all things unto him. (to man) he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we see not yet all things subjected to him. But we behold him, who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he shall taste of death for every man.


So that goes all the way back to Adam. Christ died to give all men a way of eternal salvation. He died as the sin offering to make it possible that all who submit to the will of God can be saved. And just as long as man is upon the face of the earth, and he turns in obedience to Christ,  then His redeeming blood will save him. He tasted of death for every man. “For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.” He further talks about what Christ did in verse fourteen,  " Since the children were sharers in flesh and blood, he also in himself in like manner partook of the same (for two purposes; one that)he might bring to nought him that hath power of death, that is the devil.” That is one of the primary purposes for which Christ came was to bring to naught the power of the devil. And when Christ entered the grave, he entered the strong man's house, but he came forth victorious by his resurrection from the dead. John 12:31 reads, "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the world, will draw all men unto myself.” Christ was talking about his being lifted up on the cross, and by that he had cast out the devil, the prince of this world. And so Christ by his death has brought to naught him that hath the power of death, that is the devil. “and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subjected to bondage. For verily not to angels doth he give help; but he giveth help to the seed of Abraham.”  I John 3:8 says that Christ was manifested, “that he might destroy the works of the devil


All of those who have obeyed Christ today are the seed of Abraham. They make up that new Israel of God.. " Wherefore it behooved him in all things  (the second reason) To be made like unto his brethren that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted now.”  So in order for Christ to come a merciful and faithful high priest, he took upon himself the form of man. And then when Paul refers to it again, or when this writer refers to it again in chapter four, he says that he was “tempted in all points like as we are yet without sin.” But he took on himself the nature of man. He dreaded the cross just like you and I would dread the cross, as the gospel books show very plainly.


Chapter Three,

Evidently, these Hebrew Christians were reasoning that the law was given by Moses, and we know that he was a great man and a great law giver, and surely he was a great man; but the law was God’s given through Moses. The last chapter of  Deuteronomy talks about what a great man Moses was. He surely was a great man, but Christ is greater. Moses was just great as a servant over God's house, but Christ built the house. Verse three, For he hath been counted worthy of more glory than Moses by so much as he that built the house has much more honor than the house.” Christ built the house, the church (I Timothy 3:14-15; I Corinthians 3:16), and so he is greater than Moses. “For every house is built by some one; but he that built all things is God Verse five, Moses indeed was faithful in all of his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterwards to be spoken, but Christ as a son over his house; whose house we are, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end." The two primary things that the writer does to try to prevent this great falling away is, first, to show one detail after another how that Christ and the New Testament religion is a far superior religion to the Old Testament religion, and two, to give exhortations for them to have greater faith. And notice here the emphasis that Christ as a son over his house and that house, of course, is the church, (I Timothy 3:14-15). “Whose house are we?" Referring to those Hebrew Christians. On what condition? "If we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end?”


Then he quotes from Psalms 95: 7 about how the Psalmist said that we ought not to harden our hearts like the people of Israel did in the wilderness, when their fathers tried God and saw his work for forty years. The Psalmists is referring to that occasion when they sent spies to spy out the land of Canaan as recorded in Numbers chapter thirteen. All of the twelve spies came back first with an accurate report, and then ten of them came up with a wrong and sinful report. And the people were ready to rebel and go back to Egypt, and God said that they would not enter into his rest. God had intended for that generation to receive the land of Canaan, but because of their unfaithfulness, those soldiers above twenty years of age would not see the land of Canaan. Reading from Numbers 14:22,  “because of all those men that have seen my glory, and my signs, which I wrought in Egypt and in the wildness, yet have tempted me these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; surely they shall not see the land which I swear unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that despise me see it: But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereunto he went; and his seed shall possess it.”  Numbers 14:29, "Your dead bodies shall fall in the wildness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, that have murmured against me." Verse 32, "But as for you, your dead bodies, shall fall in the wildness.”  Then in Deuteronomy 2:14, we read where that it already had taken place, "And the days in which we came from Kadesh-barnea (they went from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land) until we came over the brook Zered, were thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were consumed from the mist of the camp, as Jehovah swear unto them.”.  Verse 16, "So it came to pass. When all the men of war were consumed.” All of those that had seen God's great signs and had rebelled against him, they did not enter in, they had already fallen in the wilderness before Joshua led them across the Jordan into the land of Canaan. So that is what this is talking about. 


Now let us go back to verse 6,  They needed to hold fast their boldness and the glorying of their hope firm unto the end. If they turned loose from their boldness and glory of hope, then they would not make it to that land of rest, or to heaven, as set forth here in chapters three  and four. Verse twelve, “Take heed, brethren, lest there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God. Unbelief  is pretty well the theme of the book, Paul is emphasizing that they are in the condition that they are in because of a lack of faith, and have turned from the way of faithfulness in Christ.  How can anyone read this book without seeing that a child of God can fall away and be in a lost condition again? And in chapter six makes it very plain that already some of them had fallen away and were in such a lost condition that they would not come back to repentance. In other words they were in that lost state of no return, and chapter ten, also shows that. Verse thirteen, “But exhort one another day-by-day, as long as it is called today; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” This is a responsibility on the part of each one of us as children of God to exhort and encourage one another day-by-day. Surely that needs to be done in each Christian family, and it needs to be done as we meet and talk to one another as brethren from time to time. "To exhort and encourage one another to be faithful to the Lord.”


Verse 14, “For we are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confession firm unto the end. While it is said, today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the provocation, (referring back to Psalms 95). For who, when they heard, did provoke: Howbeit did not all they that came out of Egypt.”  We have already read -about that from chapters thirteen and fourteen of Numbers. The men twenty years and old and upward, they rebelled against the Lord until the Lord said you are going to fall in the wilderness. Verse nineteen, we see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief. Please remember that unbelief is disobedience (John 3:18, 3:36, 6: 28-29, 8:45-47). God had intended that Moses would lead them out of Egypt to inherit the land of Canaan as recorded in Genesis 15:14. God said unto Abraham that the fourth generation would inherit the land of Canaan, but their unbelief caused them to be disobedient, and it was the next generation that crossed thee Jordan under the leadership of Joshua. They could have entered in about two years after their deliverance from bondage if they had been faithful (Numbers 14:1-2,14:28-34; Deuteronomy 2:14-15; Joshua 1:1-7).


Well, that generation did not receive the land because of their rebellion. The last word in 3:19 in the ASV is unbelief, in KJV disobedience. We need to be reminded that nearly all of God's promises are conditional. We have our part in respect to the promises being fulfilled.


Chapter Four

Let us fear therefore.”  Here is another exhortation to keep them from falling. “Let us fear therefore (an exhortation to us as well) Lest, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you should seem to come short of it.” That should speak to each one of us today. We can come short of it, just like they did. And the land of Canaan was in a sense a type of heaven as set forth here in this chapter. "For indeed we have had good tidings preached unto us, even as also unto them, but the word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united with faith by them that heard.”  The good tidings preached to us must be united with real faith if we want to enter heaven at last. We come down to verse six, "Seeing therefore it remaineth that some should enter there into, and they to whom the good tidings were before preached failed to enter in because of disobedience." Again 4:6 in the King James Version reads instead of disobedience, unbelief. Unbelief is disobedience! Any time that we do not trust the promises that God has given us, we are going the way of disobedience.


Verse seven, "He again defineth a certain day, today, saying in David (Again referring back to Psalms 95).

Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”  The King James, I believe, has Jesus instead of Joshua. It is Jesus, but Joshua was the one that led them across the Jordan into the Promised Land (Joshua 1:1-7). "There remaineth therefore  a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For he that has entered into his rest, hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his.”  Again, the King James unbelief. So how do we continue to keep our faith strong enough to enter into heaven at last? Verse tells us, “Let us therefore Give diligence to enter into that rest that no man fall after the same example of disobedience” You remember how Paul told the Philippians, "do all things without murmurings or questionings.(Philippians 2:10-12)” All of those things that God has instructed us to do, we are to do. We are to give diligence to do them. Verse 12, “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than a two edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. For there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight  ( in God's sight, in Christ's sight)  But all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do. This is wonderful passage here about the priesthood of Christ. “Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” The emphasis again, let us hold fast our confession. “For we have not a great high priest that cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but one that in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”


Meaning that through all of those three avenues of sin as set forth in I John 2:15-16, the devil tempted Christ in all three of those avenues. So here the writer says that Christ is touched with the feelings of our infirmities! We have a high priest that is touched with the feelings of our infinities, one that has been at all points tempted like we are, yet he was without sin. Because Christ is our high priest he is able to succor them that are being tempted, going back to chapter two and verse eighteen. Here, "Let us draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” We need to be thankful to God that we have a great high priest who has made the way for us (Hebrews 6:18-19), and that he intercedes for us (Romans 8:34). And because we have such a great high priest, we ought to have that boldness to make known our prayers unto God through Christ..


Chapter Five

In this chapter there is more emphasis on the priesthood of Christ, and the writer continues to emphasize the priesthood of Christ. He goes into great detail in chapter seven, and he mentions it again in chapter ten. “For every high priest being taken from men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.” The priest back there, of course, were just men, and they were compassed with infirmities, like this verse says. “Who can bear gently with the ignorant, and the erring; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason thereof is bound, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.” The high priests, on the day of annual atonement (Leviticus 16:1-34) first went in not without blood into the holy of holies to make atonement for himself and his family and then a second time it looks like for the people. " No man taketh the honor unto himself, but when he is called of God, even as was Aaron.”


Numbers chapter sixteen, shows what happened when Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and two hundred and fifty princes tried to usurp the office of the priesthood, (Numbers 16:28-35) and I hope you remember what happened to them. "So Christ also glorified not himself to be made high priest; but he that spake unto him, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." Again, the statement from Psalm 2:7 is about the resurrection of Christ from the dead (Acts 13:33). And verse six, “And he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” The inspired Psalmist said that Christ was to be a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec, Psalms 110:4. “Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear.He was not heard in the sense of God taking away the cup of suffering. God let Jesus die as a sinner in the sense separated because of sin. Luke 22:41-44 shows the great agony that Christ faced when he was facing the cross, his sweat became as it were great drops of blood.

Verse 8, “Though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered.  (his death upon the cross) "and having been made perfect, he came unto all that obey him the author of eternal salvation." This idea of a person being saved on the basis of just an intellectual faith by just believing on Christ, that he is the Christ, the one that God sent to be the savior of the world, will not do! Christ is the author of eternal salvation “unto all them that obey him,” and not one more. If a man is not willing to obey Christ, then there is no salvation for him. Then he states how that he has many things to say about Christ being a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. It says they are “hard of interpretation,” but why? Because these third generation Christians were dull of hearing. And he rebukes them for they had been Christians long enough that they should have been good teachers, but they still needed to be taught the first principles, of the oracles of God, and had need of milk, rather than solid food. Verse 14, "But solid food is for full grown men even those who by reason of use have exercised their senses to discern good and evil.”  This reference is very similar to I Corinthians 3:1-4 which is one of many little things in Hebrews which indicates that Paul is the writer. To become full grown in Christ, it is necessary to be involved in doing according to the Lord's instruction. Full grown men in Christ can take solid food because they have exercised by reason of use. They have exercised their senses to discern between good and evil.


Chapter Six

In chapter six, he urges them to leave the doctrine of the first principles and press on unto perfection. Now, this surely does not mean that those first principles are not necessary. Those are foundation things, but those first principles, we are to learn and then we are to go on unto  perfection. How much do you know about these first principles listed in verses one and two? Do you know the details about what the Bible teaches on these first principles? Notice how he speaks with confidence to them in verse three,  “And this will we do if God permit.” Then he talks about those who had reached that point of being full grown in Christ and then had turned away. In verse six, he says, “it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance.” Do you see how wrong is the kind of preaching that many are doing that regardless of what the child of God does he continues in a saved condition. They say, “once saved always saved.The Bible teaches that men can fall away in such a way that they cannot find a place of repentance. When they rebel and rebel, their hearts are sometimes hardened against God, and they reach a point that God will send them a working of error as stated in II Thessalonians 2:10-12, that they might believe a lie and be damned. Now this reference is not talking about a child of God who is very weak, but gets up and tries again, but it refers to those who had reached a point of maturity in Christ, and then they turned away; and he says, “it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance. That means that they will be eternally lost if they could not be renewed to repentance.


But then in verse nine, he expresses confidence in these Jewish Christians, “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.You need to be reminded that a person can turn away from the Lord and be in such a lost condition that he cannot be renewed unto repentance, but we are persuaded of better things in regard to you. You are not going to go this way of unbelief and turning away from the living God. “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love, which ye showed toward his name, in that ye ministered unto the saints, and still do minister.” I believe it is chapter twelve that he shows that they in days past they had done a lot more than  they were doing at the present.  Again, Paul frequently expressed confidence in his brethren in Christ (Philemon 21; Romans 8:38-39, 15:14-15; I Thessalonians 2:19-20, Philippians 2:12), “and  we are we are persuaded better things of you.Though we need to remind you that people can turn away from the Lord and be in such a lost condition that they cannot be regained. Verse eleven, “And we desire that each one of you may show diligence unto the fullness of hope even unto the end: That ye be not sluggish, but imitators of them  who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Then he talks about how that God swore to Abraham saying,  Surely blessing, I will bless thee; and multiplying, I will multiply thee.” And since he could swear by none greater, he swore by himself that he would do that, and that is a quotation from Genesis 22: 16. It was after Abraham had met that great test of carrying his son Isaac on that three day journey, to Mount Moriah and there ready to offer him as a sacrifice to God. Abraham built that altar and laid Isaac upon the altar, drew his knife, ready to take the life of his son. And it was after that that God said, “Surely blessing, I will bless thee; and multiply, I will multiply thee.” And so God swore – that by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie.


Verse eighteen, “That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” There the writer is using Old Testament language. Remember that they had. six cities of refuge, three on the east side of the Jordan, and three an the west of the Jordan. The roads to those cities of refuge were to be kept properly, so if a person killed another person accidentally he could flee to the city of refuge and there he would be tried. And if he was found innocent, then he was not put to death, but he was to stay in that city of refuge until the death of the high priest. And so back there, of course, when a person killed a person accidentally, he was fleeing for physical refuge, but we have fled to Christ for spiritual refuge. “Who have fled to refuge to lay hold of the hopes set before us: Which we have an anchor of the soul.” Without real hope, we do not have a steadfast anchor. And we need that steadfast    anchor. “A hope both sure and steadfast, and entereth into that which is within the veil.”  In verses nineteen and twenty he is talking about the veil that separated between the holy place and the most holy place, first in the tabernacle and then in the temple. That veil represented Christ's flesh. (Hebrews 10:19-20), and when he died on the cross, then the way into heaven was made manifest (Matthew 27:50-54; Mark 15:37-39; Like 23:44-47; Hebrews 9:8). “Whether as a forerunner Jesus entered for us, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”


Chapter Seven

All of chapter seven is devoted to a discussion of Christ being a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. We read about Melchizedek in Genesis chapter 14. The kings of the land had gone to war and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were defeated and their people were carried into captivity, and Abraham's nephew, Lot, and his family were carried into captivity. When Abraham heard about Lot and his family he took the three hundred and eighteen soldiers that were born in his house and confederated with, Mamre the Amorite and Aner and Eshcol, he and went and made war against those enemy kings, and delivered the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. And when Abraham came back from that war, Melchizedek king of Salem and priest of God Most High came out to meet him and blessed Abraham. Abraham recognized Melchizedek as his superior and gave him a tenth, as stated here, of the chief spoils.


That passage, along with Genesis 28:22, strongly indicates that under the patriarchal dispensation, the people were required to give a tenth. But notice how Melchizedek is described in verse three, “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” Some have reasoned on the basis of verse three that evidently Melchizedek was a person of the Godhead, but that is not the case. He is represented in Genesis 14:18 as king of Salem, and priest of God Most High. But, evidently, God saw that no record was kept of his birth or his death and that made him then, as the Jews counted it, without genealogy. This made Melchizedek a type of Christ as our high priest. Abraham gave him a tenth of the chief spoils, recognizing that he was priest of God Most High and his superior. Melchizedek had brought bread and wine and blessed Abraham.


Note that verse seven reads, "But without any dispute the less is blessed of the better.”  So again, Melchizedek is greater than Abraham because he had that ability to bless him, and when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek the writer says it was like the tribe of Levi paying tithes. And of course, under the law, the Levites were to receive the tithes of the people. . In verse eleven, he says, “Now if there is perfection through the Levitical priesthood. (for under it they received the law) what further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not reckoned after the order of Aaron. So if perfection had come by that Levitical system, the Old Testament law, then there would not have been any need for another priest to be reckoned after the order of Melchizedek, but perfection did not come by that priesthood, and so the priesthood of Christ was necessary. Verse 12, “And the priesthood being changed, it is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are said belongeth to another tribe, from which no man hath given attendance at the altar. ” Do you remember that all the priests and assistants to the priest came from the tribe of Levi, and the priests came from the descendants of the family of Aaron of that tribe. Verse fourteen, “For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah; as to which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priests.” It was necessary for the priesthood to be changed. According to the law Jesus could not have served as a priest, or as an assistant to the priest, for he was from the tribe of Judah, which was the ruling tribe (Genesis 49:10).


Verse nineteen,. "For the law made nothing perfect, and the bringing in there upon of a better hope through which we draw near to God.”  That better hope is through Christ, and Christ is our great high priest. Please note that in verses seventeen and twenty-one he quotes from Psalm 110:4 about how God swore through David that Christ would be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Do you see that God saw to it that there was no record of Melchizedek’s birth or death so that he would be a type of the priesthood of Christ?

Verse twenty-two,  By so much also hath Jesus become the surety of a better covenant.” Those Hebrew brethren were reasoning that the Old Testament covenant is a great covenant, but the New Testament covenant is a better covenant. “And they indeed have been made many priests, in number, because that by death they are hindered from continuing.” Think about how that a person could have had a priest back there for fifty years, and in his, or her, old age their priest died, and they had to become accustomed to a different priest, but not so with the children of God under the law of Christ. “But he because he abideth forever, hath his priesthood unchangeable. Wherefore he is able to save unto the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” I think every child of God should try to memorize verse twenty-five, that Christ is able to save to the greatest degree that one can be saved. “Wherefore he is able to save to the uttermost.”(That is the very strongest degree that a man can be saved) them that draw near unto God through him.  Why?  Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for us.  For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. Who needeth not daily, like those high priest. This book shows that the temple was still standing when this book was written. Again, you see there would be that great attraction of the Old Testament religion, and I guess by that time, nearly all of the Jewish people were not believers in Christ. Well, in other words it would be a very small minority of all the Jewish people that would have been Christians at this time. "Who needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for their own sins, and then for the sins of the people: For this he did once, for all when he offered up himself.” Christ's death on the cross was the atoning sacrifice for all who will receive and obey him. ““For the law appointed men high priests having infirmity; but word of the oath. (referring to Christ’s priesthood) “which was after the law, appointed a Son, perfected for evermore.”


Chapter Eight

In the first part of chapter eight the writer shows that Christ is a minister of the sanctuary,. and of the true tabernacle. Verse two, “He sat down on the right hand of the throne on high of the majesty in the heaven, a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.” Exodus twenty-five and the following chapters tells us how God had given Moses, when he was up on the mountain, a pattern for the building of the tabernacle, and the holy vessels, and the priestly garments, and all those things that pertain to that system of worship. That tabernacle had two compartments, the first compartment representing the church, and the second compartment representing heaven. So Christ is a minister of the sanctuary, and that sanctuary, is the church, the true tabernacle. And back there when God gave Moses the pattern, he told him to be careful, to do everything according to the pattern, and this passage shows us why.  Verse four says, “Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all seeing that there are those who offer the gifts according to the law.” So the temple had not been destroyed in 63 A.D. It was destroyed in 70 A.D, and we think this book was written about 63 A.D. “Who serve that which is the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses is warned of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: For, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern that was shewed thee in the mountain.”


Our God is a pattern giving God, and he warned Moses, you make everything according to the pattern. This pattern is important, it represents that which is to come. The people back there under the leadership of Moses made everything according to the pattern. God has given us a pattern in regard to Christian worship. He has given a pattern for the organization of the church. God has never asked men to worship Him, and left them to grope in darkness as to how they were to worship Him. He has always given detailed instruction as to the how, and we today are to do in worship only that which he has instructed us to do. He is a pattern giving God, and he is not pleased unless we go according to his pattern 


Verse six, "But now he hath obtained a ministry, the more excellent by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises.”  I hope you are impressed with how many times, the writer uses the word better like here in verse six, a  better covenant, founded upon better promises. And then he begins and quotes from Jeremiah 31:31 where the prophet said that the days were coming when he would make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It would not be according to the covenant that he made with their fathers, for they continued not in that covenant, but God said through the prophet Jeremiah that he would give his people another covenant. Verse ten, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord.” The house of Israel today is composed of Jews and Gentiles who obey the gospel (Luke 1:31-33; Romans 2:28-29; Philippians 3:2-5). “I will put my laws into their mind, and on their hearts also will I write them. And I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.


In verse eleven and twelve two of the primary differences between the Old Testament religion and the New Testament religion are given. Under the Old Testament religion, when a child was born into a Jewish family, it was automatically counted as a part of the commonwealth of Israel. Today one must be born again John 3:1-8, 6: 45-46. There must be a spiritual birth in order to enter into that commonwealth of the new Israel, which is the church, and this passage shows that very clearly. Verse eleven, “They shall not teach every man his fellow citizen.” Fellow citizen in the kingdom of God. Philippians 3:20 reads, “For our citizenship is from heaven from whence we also look for our savior.” So verse eleven is talking about a fellow citizen in the kingdom, a fellow brother in Christ, and every man his brother, brother in Christ. “Saying, Know the Lord: For all shall know me, from the least to the greatest of them.”


Unless you already have full understanding of this passage, please give careful attention. There are many that quote this passage and conclude that there is going to come a time when all people will know the Lord. Well, there never has been such a day as that, and I do not expect such a day.  It is talking about that before a person becomes a part of the New Testament religion, there must be a new birth. And please write down in the margin Isaiah 54:13 and John 6:45-46. If you will read the context, there in Isaiah it is talking about the new Israel of God, how the family was going to be so greatly increased by the bringing in the Gentiles. Please read Isaiah 42:1, 42:6-7, 49:1-2, 49:5-6, 49:19-22, 54:1-3, 54:13 and write these references in the margin of your Bible. Please write down by Isaiah 54:13, John 6:43-46 and Hebrews 8:11.


Please, please listen to me and write references in your Bible. In process of time they will be the most valuable of all of your notes.


Isaiah 54:13 speaks of how all of Christ’s children would be taught of God. And Jesus was referring to Isaiah 54:13 when he said in John 6:45-46, "It is written in the prophets, they all shall be taught of God. And whosoever therefore hath heard and hath learned cometh unto me.” If you have a good Bible, look at the reference that is given on John 6-:45, it will refer you back to Isaiah 54:13. So it is talking about all of those in Christ, from the least to the greatest of them, they know the Lord. They have to know the Lord before they can be a part of that new Israel of God. So that is one, of the. primary differences between the Old Testament religion and the New Testament religion. The Old Testament religion left them in the flesh (Romans 8:1-5), the New Testament religion is by a spiritual birth (John 5:24-25, 6:45-60). The old man of sin is done away when a person obeys the gospel (Romans 6:3-7).


Verse twelve, “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins will I remember no more.” That is the second primary difference, under the law, there was no complete forgiveness of sin. On the tenth day of the seventh month, was the day of annual atonement, when the high priest had to go into the most holy place of the tabernacle and make atonement for himself and for his family and then for the people (Leviticus 16:1-34). When sins are forgiven under the New Testament law, they are forgiven completely and forever! Those sins are never called against a person again. And, of course, when a child of God knows that he has sinned, he is to confess his sins and pray to God that he may be forgiven, and John says that he is just and righteous to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”, I John I and I believe verse nine.


Verse thirteen, "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. But that which is becoming old and waxeth aged is nigh unto vanishing away.”  On the basis of verse thirteen, some have concluded that the Old Testament law was not completely fulfilled until 70 A.D., when the temple was destroyed. That is not the case! Colossians 2:14 shows that when Christ died on the cross, that the law was completely fulfilled. But the temple was still standing, and the way the Old Testament religion was still being observed by the Jewish people. When Jerusalem was, destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D, r the temple was completely destroyed (Matthew 24:1-4) and the temple system was destroyed. The Jewish people have not had a temple since then. And that Old Testament system then in a sense

vanished away.