Hebrews, James, Peter, John, Jude

Southern Christian University

Lesson on Hebrews #2

James A. Turner


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


Chapter Nine

In this chapter Paul goes back to the days of the tabernacle, and shows the meaning of the two divisions of the tabernacle. I hope that the outline on The Tabernacle will help you. Please feel free to make copies of it for Bible Classes. The tabernacle had two divisions, and note the holy vessels that were in each division. Now, the regular priests could go into the first tabernacle accomplishing the things that they needed to do there. The first compartment was a type of the church and the second was a type of heaven. All Christians are priest (I Peter 2:9), and Christ is our great high priest. Only the high priest could go into the most holy place and he could go in only on the day of annual atonement.


Verse six, "Now these things having been thus prepared, the priest go in continually in to the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services. But the second the high priest alone once in the year (that day of annual atonement) Not without blood which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people Notice verse eight, “The Holy Spirit signified that the way into the Holy place had not been made manifest while the first tabernacle is yet standing.” The veil that separated between the holy place and the most holy place represented the veil of Christ's flesh (Hebrews 10:19-20) and when Christ died on the cross of Calvary the veil of the temple was miraculous rent. Please read Matthew 27:50-54, and Mark 15:37-39, and Luke 23:44-46 about this. You surely need to read with the understanding that the veil was miraculously rent when Christ was crucified, showing that the way into heaven had been made manifest. Christ entered into heaven itself having made complete atonement for sin. Students, you also need to write those references by verse eight in your Bible


Verse eleven, “"But Christ having come a high priest of the good things to come , through the greater and more perfect  tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, or yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood he entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption."  So there is no question about how that a person who obeys Christ can be saved and, if he is faithful he will be saved eternally, because Christ has made that eternal sacrifice that gives the way of eternal redemption, having “obtained eternal redemption.” Verse fifteen says, that Christ is “the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place  (the death of Christ) For the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant.”  When the people back there died in covenant relationship with God, by the offering up of animal blood, when Christ died, his blood reached back and made complete atonement for them. It took the death of Christ for the New Testament law to go into operation (Matthew 26:28).


Verse sixteen, "For where a testament is there must of necessity be the death of him that made it.” In regard to the thief on the cross, whether or not the thief was saved and had been baptized by John, we do not definitely know, but there is strong possibility that he had (Matthew 3:5-6), but while Christ was on earth, he had the power, to forgive sin (Matthew 9:5-7), but now his law has gone into effect. And if a man is saved today, he must be saved by the law of Christ, and his law requires baptism for salvation (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; I Peter 3:21). The Old Testament law was dedicated with animal blood and animal blood made temporary forgiveness for sin. In verse twenty-two, he says, “I may almost say all things are cleansed with blood, and that apart from the shedding of blood, there is no remission


John Brown, an abolitionist in late 1850’s quoted Hebrews 9:22 in his anti-slavery efforts, and said that

the only way to make atonement for blood shed by proslavery men in Kansas was to kill some of the proslavery men.


Verse twenty-three, “It was necessary therefore that the copies of things in heaven should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things with better sacrifices than these. (the sacrifice of Christ) For Christ entered not into a holy place made with hands, like in the pattern to the true; but into heaven itself, nor yet that he should offer himself, now to appear before the face of God for us: nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entered year by year  (annual atonement day) with blood not his own; else must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once at the end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself Do you see how verses twenty-three through twenty-six show the superiority of Christ as high priest to that of the law? Christ as our high priest offered himself to make complete atonement for our sin, and that atonement is forever. His sacrifice made eternal atonement!


Verse twenty-seven, “And in as much as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgmentWhen a man’s soul leaves his body, his destiny is sealed. There is no doctrine of a second chance in this verse or any passage in all the Bible. Verse twenty-eight, “So Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many (countless millions) shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him unto salvation  Our brethren who give a figurative meaning for Matthew 24:30 and Mark 13:26 and Luke 21:27, and apply them to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., need to give careful attention to Hebrews 9:28 that Christ will “appear a second time   If Christ came in the destruction of Jerusalem, how then can he come in his second advent that this verse tells us that he will. Their interpretation is out of harmony with a number of plain passages! God is not a God of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33).


Chapter Ten

The law was a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image or substance of those things. And he reasons that if the worshipers had once been cleansed, they would   have had no more consciousness of sin. But in those sacrifices year by year, again talking about that day of annual atonement, that there was remembrance made of sin. And then verse 4, “For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin.” Some are ready to reason that God is God, and he can do anything. Well, the writer here says it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. Now, that was the medium for their temporary forgiveness, but God did not intend that animal blood would be sufficient to take away sin. Animal blood did not meet the standard of God’s justice for atonement from sin (Isaiah 53: 7-10; Romans 3:24-26). It took a perfect sacrifice, the sacrifice of our Lord and savior to make that atonement.


How much regard would we have for the enormity of sin today if animal blood could make  atonement for our sins? I cannot speak for you, but I think I would say, “now, the primary thing then is to keep our flocks and herds multiplying so we will have plenty of animals to offer up.” You remember back there, that when they learned that they had sinned that they were to carry the animal that the law required to the tabernacle, and place their hand on the head of the animal at the altar of burnt offerings and then the sinner was to kill the animal. Surely, they understood that I am the one  who deserves to die, but this animal. is taking my place (Leviticus 4:22-31, 17:10-15), but it was impossible for that blood to make, complete atonement. It was necessary for Christ to come and die as a sin offering for all men (Hebrews 2:9).


Then he quotes from the Psalms 40:6 ff about Christ, "Sacrificing offering thou wouldest not, but a body didst thou prepare for me: In whole burnt offerings for sin thou hast no pleasure." But that was the God given way for temporary forgiveness. "Then said I, lo, I am come (Christ) In the roll of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God. Saying above sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered according to the law; then hath he said, lo, I am come to do thy will. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second, and every priest indeed standeth day by day ministering and offering the sacrifices, the which can never take away sins  Do you see that it is definite that the temple was still standing, and the priests were offering sacrifices daily for the people, but those sacrifices then did not give them any temporary forgiveness for the law had been completely fulfilled. Christ fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17-18) took it out of the way nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14).Verse ten, “By which will, we have been sanctified through the offering up of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  Verse twelve, “ but when he, had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; henceforth expecting his enemies to be made the footstool of his feet. For by one offering he perfected for ever more them that are sanctified.” Then he emphasizes again the fact that sins are completely forgiven under the law of Christ, and that he will be at the right hand of God till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. That includes every person who has applied the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:8 and continues to apply it (I John 1:7-9). Verse sixteen, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days. (quoted in chapter eight), I will put my laws on their hearts and upon their mind also will I write them. Then he says, their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more, for where remission of sin is, there is no more offering for sin


Verse nineteen, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way through the veil that is to say, his flesh; “  We have already emphasized this, and the significance of the miraculous renting of the veil of the temple when Christ died. Verse twenty-one,  “And having a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience; and having our bodies washed with pure water.”  By faith, repentance and baptism, one enters into Christ and into the body of Christ, the church (Ephesians 1:22-23) which is the new and living way that Christ has made for us. Verse twenty-two, “let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waiver not; for he is faithful that promised,”


Beginning with verse twenty-four, there is emphasis on how that they needed to consider one another, and it is also emphasis to us that we need to consider one another to provoke unto love and good works. "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day drawing nigh.”  I am not sure if any of us can know very definitely about the day, the specific day that he is talking about, of drawing nigh. But he has told us that -- going back to chapter three, that we need to exhort one another daily, and further we know that we are to meet together on the first day of the week, and we are to exhort and encourage one another to be present on the first day of the week to worship the Lord. Do you not think that that is one of the primary ways that we are to look at this passage, that we have responsibility. We are to exhort and encourage one another, and provoke one another to love and good works by attending the services of the church regularly ourselves and by exhorting and encouraging others to do the same.


Verse twenty-five indicates that some of them had just quit assembling with the saints to worship God. It had become their custom not to. We read in Luke the fourth chapter that when Jesus went back to Nazareth and went into the synagogue. "As his custom was, he went into the synagogue and stood up for to read.”  It was the custom of Christ to meet on the Sabbath Day for that synagogue worship. It was his custom to participate in the synagogue worship, but it had become the custom of some of these brethren not  to assemble; and it may be that they had reached that point very much like those referred to in chapter six. "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sin.”  


Some have reasoned on the basis of the reading in the King James Version, and the American Standard Version, that if a man sins willfully, there is no hope for him. Well, if that is the case, there is no hope for the most of us. Most of us it not all of us, have been guilty of some willful sinning along the way. If you will read from some of the better modern versions, they give a better understanding of verse twenty-six. Reading from the New Revised Standard Version, “For if we willfully persist in sin (willfully persist) after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin.”  That is the reading of the New Revised Standard Version. Now, I will read from the New American Standard Version, verse twenty-six, "For if we go on sinning willfully, after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin  The only sacrifice for sin is Christ, and when a person stops attending the assemblies of the saints, and especially that assembly on the first day of the week he or she is rejecting Christ who is the only sacrifice for sin.


The New Testament plainly teaches that we are to assemble on the first day of week and engage in five items of worship, teaching, praying, singing, giving, and partaking of the Lord’s supper (Acts 2:42; I Corinthians 16:1-2, 11: 33; Acts 20:7). If we do not meet regularly on the first day of the week and reason, “I want to go to the lake, or I just want a complete day of rest,” and we willfully do not attend.   Does not this passage tells us very plainly, if we continue that course, the only sacrifice for sin has already been made; and we are rejecting that sacrifice and that atonement, and if we continue that way, then what? Verse twenty-seven, "But a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fierceness of fire shall devour the adversary   That is talking about eternal judgment, when Christ will come with his mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God (II Thessalonians 2:6-10). “A man that hath set at naught Moses law died without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses If a man had committed murder, and two or three witnesses, said that they were witnesses, the murderer was to be stoned to death.


The same thing was the case for a number of crimes under the law. There were a number of crimes that carried the death penalty under the law (Exodus 21:12-14, 15, 16, 17; 22:18, 19, 20; Leviticus 20:1, 9, 10-11, 13, 15, 17, 18) "And of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God; and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, and unholy thing, and having done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”  Do you see how that just willfully neglecting the assembling of the saints, and especially the assembly on the first day of the week, that a child of God is trampling under foot the Son of God and counting the blood of the covenant in an unholy thing?


One of the most dangerous things that a child of God can do on the basis of the reading of this passage is to just count lightly the assembling of the saints on the first day of the week. And if you are one of those who with any light cause is ready to forsake the assembly on the first day of the week, I surely hope that you will give careful attention to the reading here. Verse twenty-nine, the writer says, “how much sorer punishment, think ye (back there they were stoned to death) how much sorer punishment, shall be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God.”  This is referring to a member who gets to the point that he is not concerned about the way of the Lord to the point that he just, for any light cause, stays away from the assembly on the first day of the week. This passage is saying he is trodding under foot the Son of God, and counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing and doing despite unto the spirit of grace. Just missing for one light cause after another gradually chokes out the word. As stated in Luke 8:14, “and as they go on their way  they are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. "For ye know him that said, vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense.”  It is talking about that person who just stubbornly turns against what he knows he should do in respect to assembling with the saints on the first day of the week. "And again the Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ." It is not a fearful thing for a faithful child of God to fall into the hands of the living God. Paul said, I have come to the end of the way in victory, and I am going to receive that crown of life (II Timothy 4:6-8). And Peter said, an abundant entrance will be given to the faithful into that heavenly kingdom(II Peter 1:10-11) but it is a fearful thing for a Christian who has just ceased to assemble with the saints on the first day of the week to worship. It is a fearful thing for them to fall into the hands of the living God.


Verse thirty two, "But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were enlightened, ye endured a great conflict of suffering; partly being partakers with them that were so used. For ye both had compassion on them that were in bonds and took joyfully the spoiling of your possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one.”  This book shows that in days past these people had been more faithful than they were at the time of the writing of this Epistle, that after they first were enlightened, after they first became Christians, they had endured a conflict of suffering. They were made a gazing stock by reproaches and afflictions, and partly by being partakers with them that were so treated, and they had compassion on them that were in bonds. People were being put in prison because they were faithful to the Lord. "and took joyfully the spoiling of their possessions.”  They had lost their possessions because they were Christians. So in former days, they had been very faithful, knowing that they had a better possession and an abiding one.


Now look at the admonition in verse thirty-five, "Cast not away therefore your boldness, which hath great recompense of reward for ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.” That is an exhortation that all of us need to hear and abide by. You have need of that perseverance, that steadfastness of faith, to hold on to the Lord firmly, that “having done the will of God ye may receive the promise. For yet a little while, he that cometh shall come, and shall not tarry. But my righteous one shall live by faith.”  That passage is from Habakkuk  2:3. “My righteous one shall live by faith. (but notice)  and if he shrank back, my soul hath no pleasure in him.”  Does not what the inspired writer is saying still holds true today? If a man shrinks back from having that proper faith, then God does not have any pleasure in him, but then another expression of confidence. Verse thirty-nine, Please remember that when we have room to speak with confidence about what people are going to do, and how they are going to make Christian growth, we need to speak with confidence. We are  appealing to the very best in a person, when we appeal with that spirit of confidence.. "But we are not of them that shrink back unto perdition.” (eternal destruction) but of them that have faith unto the saving of the soul.”


Chapter Eleven

Then that great chapter, that hall mark of faith chapter. "Faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen. For therein the elders had witness born to them. By faith we understand that the worlds have been formed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear.” Faith is not blind. It is based on evidence. All of God’s creation speaks to us and tells us that there is a wise and eternal God who created the heavens and the earth and all things there in (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:20) Man cannot create anything, all that he can do is take that which God hath put here and make new ways of using it, but God created the heavens and the earth and all things. Are you amazed at all of the animals, cattle, wild beast, fowls of the air, fish of the sea, or insects, bees, ants, creeping things, and the list goes on that God has made. The instincts of some of the animals, fish, fowls, sea turtles, and even some of the butter flies are indeed amazing. . Is it not a shame that there are many of those involved in the space program who want us to believe that God did not create all of these wonderful and amazing things. It looks like that one of the primary goals of the Space Program at the present is to find out how the big bang took place, and how the world came into existence. Well, this passage tells us. Verse three reads, "By faith we understand  that the worlds have been framed by the word of God  so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear  In the beginning God created things that did not exist.


Then he talks about a great number of great people, first of the patriarchs and then people under the law. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than did Cain.” This, surely shows, that God had instructed them what to offer. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”  (Romans 10: 17).  So God had instructed them. Abel offered an animal sacrifice as God required. Cane offered a sacrifice of his own thinking. He offered up a sacrifice of the fruits of the field. Which sacrifice in man’s eyes looked the best? I am confident Cane's looked the best, but it was not what God required! And God rejected his and accepted Abel's, and “he being dead yet speaketh  He tells us that we are to worship in God’s appointed way, and that when we do this God will be pleased with our worship! "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death.” Two persons in the Old Testament  did not see death, Enoch and Elijah,  and do you remember that Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind into heaven (II Kings 2:9-12). “But before he was translated he had witness born to him, that he was well pleasing to God.”


Verse six, is a very important passage “And without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto him: For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and  a rewarder of them that seek after himNotice the two things, not only that intellectual faith that he is, but that he is a kind, and benevolent God, that he has not said anything but what is good for our well being. He is a rewarder of them that seek after him. In other words when we obey the Lord, we are going the way of having that eternal salvation at the end of the way. He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek after him. Then he talks about Noah, how that Noah being warned of things not seen as yet. The book of Genesis very strongly indicates that it never had even rained, much less a world wide flood. Genesis 2:6 reads, “but there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” There is no mention of rain before the flood, but Noah prepared the ark according to God's instruction, and he accomplished three things. He moved with godly fear, prepared an ark, one, to the saving of his house, two, by that he condemned the world, his faithfulness condemned the millions of that day, and three, by his obedience he became the heir of righteousness. Faithfulness always condemns the disobedient (Matthew 11:20-24, 12:41-42; I Corinthians 6:1-9).  “By faith Abraham, when he was called  obeyed  to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whether he went.”  God called him when he was in the Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 12:1-3, 11:28; Acts 7:2-5), and he did not know where God was going to carry him; but he obeyed to go out unto a place, which he was to receive for an inheritance. Please look on a map and see how far it was from the Ur of the Chaldees to Haran, and then after his father died he went into the land of Canaan (Genesis 11:31-32, 12:4; Acts 7:2-5). “And he went out not knowing wither he went.” My, what faith that took! And then he became a sojourner in the land of Canaan, and just dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. Why? Verse ten, “For he looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God.


Verse eleven, By faith. even Sara,” when she was past age to bear children (Genesis 18:11-14), received power to conceive and gave birth to Isaac. And this shows that it was not because of a lack of faith when she laughed as recorded in Genesis 18:13-15, 21:1-7, but she laughed with joy when the Lord told Abraham outside the tent that she was going to have a son. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob confessed that they were “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” And we also are strangers and pilgrims on the earth (I Peter 2:11). “They confessed that they desired a better country, that is, an heavenly: Because of that, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city. By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac. (thinking that God would raise him from the dead)  from whence he did also in a figure received him back.”  


Verse twenty, Think of the great example of these others that did things by faith and how Moses, when he was forty years of age, made a definite choice. And Steven tells us that he was already “mighty in words and in deed,” He had been educated and trained to become the next governor of Egypt. But he chose rather to suffer or to share ill treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. He knew that there was pleasure in sin, and as a Pharaoh could have participated in all kinds of sin that he wanted to, but he accounted the approach of Christ greater than the treasures of Egypt for he looked unto the  “ recompense of his reward.” A wise man looks to the end of the way. Seeing Afar Verses Seeing What Is Near is still a good subject.


Then the writer continues to talk about how time will not permit him to go into detail about those people back there that did by faith a lot of things because of their faith, and they endured. But verse forty, "But God having provided some better things concerning us, that a part from us they should not be made perfect.”  So the people, of the patriarchal dispensation, and the Jewish dispensation, that are in God's hallmark of fame chapter, are there because of their faith, but God has provided some better thing concerning us, “that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” They were made perfect by the blood of Christ when he died on the cross (Hebrews 9:15) and we  are made perfect by the blood of Christ. They will enter heaven at last because of what Christ has done., and the faithful of the Christian age will enter heaven at last because of their faithfulness to Christ because of what he has done for us..


Chapter Twelve

“Therefore let us also seeing that we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witness.” Do you not think he is including those faithful as looking on in that great cloud of witnesses? "Lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”  Some would say that “the sin which doth so easily beset us” with one person it is one thing and it may be entirely a different thing with another, but it is talking about a specific thing, “the sin” which is a lack of faith. He has emphasized throughout this great book the importance of faith and “the sin, which doth so easily beset us,”  is a lack of faith. It is at times, common to every child of God, and every weight would be all of those other things that may hinder us; but the sin, which doth so easily beset us is that lack of faith. So let us have that great faith that continues to keep us making progress in becoming more like Christ and closer to him as the days go by. “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Verse four, “Ye have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Ye have forgotten the exhortation.” As given in Proverbs 3: 11 beginning, that God disciplines every son that he receives. And verse eight, if you are without chastening, or if you are without disciplining, this means that you are bastards and  not sons. The difference between the Lord's discipline and parental discipline is stated in verse ten. Parental discipline is never perfect discipline. “For indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed good to them.” Even those who have been faithfully studying and living by the law of Christ, and observing, their discipline is in many areas going to be much less than perfect. But with God his discipline is perfect. "But he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness.”  


Verse twelve, “Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down,  and the palsied knees ; and make straight paths for your feet, that that which is lame be not turned out of the way, but rather be healedThese two verses are a call to courageous and active leadership so that the lame in the church will be healed! “Hands that hang down”  are inactive hands, and “palsied knees”  represent a person with trembling knees because of fear. We surely need bold and active leadership in the church today. If we have bold and faithful leadership in the church then others will become stronger, and the “lame” will be healed.


You may wonder how I know so much about the meaning of “hands that hang down” . Some of my happiest days as a teenager were days when I worked with my dad. He liked to work, and some times he would be very busy doing something; and he would say to me, Well, just stand there with your hands in your pockets.” What do you suppose he meant by that statement? I soon learned that I needed to be more alert and give him the help that he needed immediately when he needed it. We spent a lot of happy days sawing wood with a cross cut saw for the cook stove and our fireplaces which was our only source of heat in the winter. Sometimes when we were sawing wood he would say to me, “If you are going to ride pick up your feet! You see I was doing a good job of bearing down on the handles of the saw, and pulling it back to me, but I was not doing very well in pushing it back to him.


Verse fourteen, “Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord.” We are to, “follow after the things which make for peace and the things whereby we may edify one another, (Romans 14:19).” This passage is emphasizing that too. Sanctification is living holy, and consecrated lives unto the Lord.


Verse fifteen, “Looking carefully lest there be any man that falleth short of the grace of God.”  This is another of many passages that a man can fall short of the grace of god? God's love and mercy and grace all have boundaries. And we need to be careful that we do not fall short of the grace of God. We need to keep in the boundaries of God's love, mercy, and grace. "lest any root of bitterness spring up, trouble you, and thereby the many be defiled, lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one mess of meat sold his own birthright.”  Do you remember the story as given in Genesis 25:27-34 how Essau came in from hunting tired and hungry, and he wanted some of Jacob’s pottage, and Jacob drove a hard deal on his lustful brother. Jacob bought his birthright for a mess of pottage! When it came time for him to inherit as the older son, even though they were twins, Esau came first, and you remember how that Jacob and his mother cheated him out of that birthright, and then after Jacob had pronounced the blessing, Esau came in and he wanted to know if his father did not have another blessing, but his father did not have another blessing.


Verse eighteen. With this verse the writer begins talking about how God demonstrated on Mount Sinai or Mount Horeb before the giving of the law to Moses, and how that we have come under the Christian dispensation to something much better. In verse twenty-two, he says that “ye have come unto Mount Zion, (the church.) and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, (the church), and to innumerable host of angels.  And the general assembly and church of the firstborn, (Christ) who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirit of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better than that of Able.” The blood of Abel still speaks, and it tells us that all the faithful will be rewarded by the Lord. The blood of Christ is the power of cleansing for every man who will obey him (Zechariah 13:1, Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:8-9). “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.”  “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” This passage emphasizes that we will not escape if we refuse to hear. “For if they escaped not when they refused him that warned them on earth, much more shall not we escape, who turn away from him that warneth from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth; but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more will I make to tremble not the earth only, but also the heavens.” That will occur when Christ comes in the second advent as taught plainly in the gospel accounts and also by Peter. "And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of these things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain. Wherefore receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace whereby we may offer service well pleasing to God with reverence and awe: For our God is a consuming fire.”   There are those who, as I have stated several times, want to over emphasize the love of God to the point of not emphasizing the severity of God. But remember Romans 11: 22, “behold then the goodness and the severity of God.” We need to try to present things properly. When people stubbornly rebel, and rebel over a long period of time, God is a consuming fire as stated in verse twenty nine. See also Ezekiel 5:1-17.


Chapter Thirteen

Have you noticed how the writer carries with that continuous theme of the superiority of Christ and the New Testament religion over the Jewish religion? This book has many things in common with Galatians and Romans which were written by Paul. In this last chapter the writer gives instruction and exhortations about every day Christian living. Let us give attention to some of these. The first one reads, “Let love of the brethren continue.” This is a short but very meaningful statement. There is real hope for spiritual growth and progress in any church where genuine love prevails. In that last discourse that Jesus gave his apostles he said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that  ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another  (John 13:34-35).”


The second admonition is, “Forget not to show  love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawaresAbraham (Genesis 18:1-23) and Lot (Genesis 19:1-11) are two of those who entertained angels unaware. We will not be entertaining angels today but the command holds that we are  “to show love unto strangers.” Do you remember how the apostle John commended “Gaius the beloved” for showing his love to “brethren and strangers” who had gone forth to preach the gospel (III John 5-8). John also said to Gauis and to us,  “We therefore ought to welcome such, that we may be fellow-workers for the truth, verse eight.” All of us need to keep John’s words in mind. Any time we as individuals, or as a church, help in any good work for God; that we become “Fellow-workers” in that good cause.


Verse three reads, “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; them that are ill treated, as being yourselves also in the body”. If we follow Jesus we will surely show compassion to such people. Many Christians were put in jail and ill treated for the cause of Christ. Some of these Hebrew Christians had known some of these persons and some of them had taken joyfully “the spoiling of their goods (Hebrews 10:32-35).”


The fourth admonition is, “Let marriage be had in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God  will judgeMarriage is the first holy and divine institution established by God in His great wisdom in the very beginning (Genesis 2:18-24), and it should be held in honor and kept holy like God gave it in the beginning (Matthew 19:3-12). In the last book of the Old Testament we read that God was not receiving the offerings of the people and they were asking why “with tears , with weeping” and God said, “Because Jehovah hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously -------- For I hate putting away, saith Jehovah, the God of Israel (Malachi 2:13-16).” Divorce has now become quite common in some churches today, but God still hates “putting away”!


Verses five and six read, “Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise forsake thee. So that with good courage we say; The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What man shall  do unto me.” The latter part of verse five is from Joshua 1:5 where God was encouraging Joshua to put his trust in Him and courageously led his people into Canaan. The first part of verse five is very much like I Timothy 6:6-10 which may be another one of those small things which indicate that Paul is the author of Hebrews. Verse six is a quotation from Psalms CXVIII:6, and we are not fear what men may do unto us (Matthew 10:28).


Verse seven, Remember them that had the rule over you, that spake unto you the word of God; and considering the issue of their life, imitate their faith. These Christians had some faithful preachers and teachers who were great leaders, and they are asked to remember their good examples before them and to “imitate their faith”  “ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, yea and for ever”. We need to be reminded that our God is an unchanging God, and our Savior Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, and that we need to put all our trust in them. Neither of them will fail us or forsake us, and because we can depend on them we ought not to be “carried away by divers and strange teachings.” We need to study our Bibles and learn what it teaches so we will always recognize all forms of false teaching.


Verse eleven says that the bodies of those beasts whose blood was brought by the high priest into the holy place to make atonement (Leviticus 16:1-34), were burned without the camp. Then in verse twelve, thirteen, and fourteen he tells us that Jesus gave His blood for us and suffered for us “without the gate”, and that we are to “go forth unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have not here an abiding city, but we seek after the city which is to come.” 


“Through him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips which make confession to his name.” Would not this include our prayers, and singing, and all faithful teaching in which we give thanks and praise to God? Verse sixteen says, “But to do good and communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” So this verse reminds us of our responsibility of doing good things for other people and sharing what we have with those in need. The NASV uses the word sharing instead of communicate. Verse sixteen is like the words of Paul in Galatians 6:6, 6:9-10 and I Timothy 6:17-19.


The admonition in verse seventeen is, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them: for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief; for this were unprofitable for you This verse is primarily speaking of how members of the church are to be in subjection to the elders of the church. Qualified elders are bishops or overseers of the church, and they are to feed or give Bible teaching to the church (Acts 20:28). They are to watch for the welfare of all the members like a good shepherd watches after the sheep. Peter said to the elders of those churches that he wrote to, “Tend the flock of God which is among you ---“ but they were not to lord it over them; but as ensamples to the flock. So good leadership always includes holy living as an example for others to follow. Elders are not to bind anything that Christ has not bound or try to loose anything that he has bound (I Peter 4:1-4), and they lead primarily by being good examples of every day Christian living, and by being actively involved in the work of the Lord.


Verses eighteen and nineteen show that the recipients of the letter knew who it was from although he does not mention himself by name. They also knew Timothy for verse twenty three reads, “Know ye that our brother Timothy hath  been set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.”  This strongly indicates that Paul is the author of Hebrews. In verse twenty four he says, They of Italy salute you. Please remember that Paul went to Rome the capital city of Italy to be tried by the highest court without any formal charges against him (Acts 23:26-30, 25:7-12, 26:30-32), and during this first Roman imprisonment he was permitted to live in his own hired dwelling; and that imprisonment was over when Luke completed the book of Acts for he says, “And he abode two whole years in his own hired dwelling, and received all they that went in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus with all boldness, none forbidding himThis is another indication that Paul is the author and also the closing words, “Grace be with you all. Amen Please compare the closing with I Thessalonians 5:28 and II Thessalonians 3:17, and I Corinthians 16:23 and II Corinthians 13:14, and Romans 16:20 and Galatians 6:18, and Ephesians 6: 23-24 and Philippians 4:23, and Colossians 4:18 and II Timothy 4:22, and Titus 3:15 and Philemon 25.