Christian Churches of God
Commentary on Hebrews
(Edition 1.0 20150215-20170414)
The Book of Hebrews was written to the Hebrews in Parthia as the Lost Tribes to explain the purpose of the Messiah as the High priest of Melchisedek and the position of the elect as part of that priesthood
It was written from Italy, reportedly by Paul, in order to bring them all into the understanding of the purpose of the plan of God in the creation and salvation of the Host.
Commentary on Hebrews
THE LETTER TO THE HEBREWS
As the Annotated Oxford RSV points out “this anonymous treatise contains the longest sustained argument of any book in the Bible. With a careful and closely knit discussion, the unknown author moves with confidence step by step through an elaborate proof of the pre-eminence of Christianity over Judaism.”
The Oxford RSV incorrectly asserts that “The recipients of the letter were on the point of giving up their Christian faith and returning to the Jewish beliefs and practices of their ancestors. To win them back to a firm adherence to Christianity the author emphasizes three main points: (a) The superiority of Jesus Christ to the prophets (1.1-3), to the angels (1.5-2.18), and to Moses himself (3.1-6);
(b) The superiority of Christ's priesthood to the Levitical priesthood (4.14-7.28); and
c) The superiority of Christ's sacrifice offered in the heavenly sanctuary to the many animal sacrifices offered on earth by the Levitical priests (8.1-10.39).”
This assertion is not true and the purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews is to explain the message of Christ to them and bring them to the faith as the Jews were also given the opportunity. Its concentration on The priesthood of Melchisedek is the underlying purpose of the letter. We will explain its purpose below.
It seems obvious from its treatment in the texts and the references that it was written well prior to the fall of Jerusalem and the fall of the Temple in 70 CE and its purpose was to be used as a text to address the issues of the faith with the Hebrews that were taken North of the Araxes ca 721 BCE and to which Peter and the other apostles were sent as apostles.
Much of the tribes were among the Parthians during the First Century when Peter was dispatched to them from Antioch from where he operated and appointed three bishops there according to history. He preached the gospel in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Betania, Italy and Asia and was allegedly crucified by Nero in Rome according to Hippolytus. However, there seems to be little doubt that he was never Bishop of Rome (see the paper Fate of the Twelve Apostles (No. 122B)).
At an early date the church recognized the intrinsic worth of this "word of exhortation" (13.22), and Christians of all ages have been inspired by the great chapter on faith (ch. 11) as well as by the author's profound interpretation of the significance of the person and work of Jesus Christ, "the same yesterday and today and forever" (13.8).
Agreeing with Bullinger, the arguments in favour of the Pauline authorship are much more weighty than those in favour of all other candidates put together. The reasons are stated thus:-
1. The thought and reasoning are Paul's and are based on the Psalms and the purpose of the priesthood and the law. His other epistles were written to churches composed of Gentiles, whereas the Hebrews were of the “Lost” Ten Tribes mainly among the Parthians and which was the primary responsibility of Peter operating from Antioch. In addressing such an epistle to Hebrews, he would be expected to naturally write as an instructed scribe, one brought up
"at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers" (Act 22:3). Hence the style must be expected to be in accordance with the Law and the Testimony (Isa. 8:20) otherwise they would not have listened to him.
Bullinger states that there is a certain amount of external testimony that Paul was the writer, but none as to any other although there have been suggestions as to others authors but none of these are persuasive.
The testimony of 2Peter 3:15, 3:16, strictly interpreted, proves that Paul wrote an epistle to the Hebrews. As Bullinger says: if this is not the epistle, where is it? No trace or indication of any other has ever been found.
Bullinger says the anonymity of Hebrews is eminently in favour of Pauline authorship. He argues that the suspicion with which the Jews regarded Paul, and their furious hatred of him (cp. Acts 21:21; 2Cor 11:24; Phil 3:2; 1Thes. 2:15, &c.), would be ample reason why, in addressing so important a letter to his own race, he should withhold his name.
The unanimity with which the church viewed the theological importance of the priesthood of Melchisdek and of Christ overrode any consideration of personality being applied to any apostle by name as we will see.
Concerning the date of writing and publication: There is a fixed idea in the minds of most commentators that the reference to Timothy in 13:23 must have been connected with the Naronian persecution. The references to Paul writing a text in 2Peter fixes the date before the death of Paul, and so well before that of Peter. So also it had taken place probably at least ten years before the Fall of the Temple in 70 CE.
Modern so-called agreement attempts to deny that Paul wrote it as it also attempts to deny that Peter wrote 2 Peter because it ties Paul to the letter to the Hebrews. However Clement of Alexandria (Euseb. Hist. VI, 14, 4) mentions the title in Greek and tells as that Paul wrote the epistle in Hebrew and that Luke translated it into Greek. Clement says it was unnamed to avoid antagonism as he was known as the apostle to the Gentiles and Peter the apostle to the Hebrews. The Later Trinitarians have sought to place Peter in Rome and thus have sought to discount the authorship of both Hebrews and of 2Peter which corroborates it as it place Peter in Parthia and not in Rome and Paul in Italy Perhaps without Peter or written for Peter to take to Parthia which is likely and explains the lack of author being written for Peter to support his work.
Tertullian attributes it to Barnabas and Origen says the ideas are Pauline but the writing comes from someone else unknown (Euseb. Hist. VI.25). Others are Luther: Appollos; Calvin: Clement or Luke; W. Mason says it may be circular like Stephen in Acts. The entire church held Hebrews to be Pauline until the Reformation. The Tridentine Council of 8 April 1546 decided for Paul although the Pontifical Bible Commission of Rome (24 June 1914) allowed Paul may not have given it its final form (cf. Interp. Dict. Hebrews).
It seems without doubt to be Paul that wrote it in Hebrew and its form has the theology of the Church at the time and is not Trinitarian at all and its purpose is explained below.
The purpose is that Jesus was both Messiah and true Man, and as Man must have suffered. And that the Old Covenant was ended and its place taken by a New (Heb. 8:13).
It is impossible that the apostle who was inspired to write and publish Romans at a comparatively early date would not have been allowed or indeed required to put forth Hebrews till the very end of his ministry. As Bullinger says "To the Jew first" is verily applicable in this connection.
He holds that: “Paul was at Jerusalem for the Council meeting (his date 51) when the very subjects of Hebrews had evidently been bitterly discussed (Acts 15:5; 15:7). Shortly thereafter he writes Thessalonians.1 and 2, both of which contain poignant references to ‘shameful treatment’ at the hands of his own people.”
Weight of the Epistle
With this major doctrinal epistle, Paul, as God's ambassador to the Diaspora and Gentiles, had documentary argument, proof, and testimony, in support of his (and of Timothy's and others') oral teaching and instruction, for circulation among the many thousands of Jews who believed at and after Pentecost, yet all of whom were "zealous of the Law" (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 6:7; 21:20), and with whom Paul and his fellow-workers must have come into contact. To have attached his own name to this would have defeated its purpose as the doctrinal position of the church, as above mentioned.
Bullinger argues that the approximate time therefore for writing and publishing such a body of doctrine must have been shortly after the beginning of his ministry, and, consequently, Hebrews was in all probability written during the eighteen months of Paul's sojourn at Corinth, during which he was "teaching among them the word of God" (Acts 18:11). It is stated to have been written in Italy and thus could have been written after he had appointed Linus as Bishop and while Timothy was imprisoned and certainly from his arrival at Corinth (ca. 50 CE). And certainly not later than 64 CE. It may have been written anytime between 50-59 CE from his mission at Corinth to his arrival at Jerusalem in 51-57 CE or his placement before Festus in 59 CE (cf. also Bullinger). Hebrews seems to speak with the doctrinal authority of the church and that would indicate a period ca 57 CE after the Jerusalem Conference of Acts 15. (cf. Interp. Dict. of the Bible. 1980, Paul; Chron. of the NT.
The Acts of Paul, an apocryphal work written around 160, describes the martyrdom of Paul. According to that work, Nero condemned Paul to death by decapitation. The date of Paul's death is believed to have occurred after the Great Fire of Rome in July 64, but before the last year of Nero's reign, in 68. The epistle was probably written much earlier.
Lastly, Bullinger also holds as does CCG, that “weighty support is given to these conclusions by the position Hebrews occupies in the four most important MSS., N, A, B, C, and in others. In some MSS. Hebrews is found in different positions with regard to the other books of the New Testament. In certain it appears as it stands in our Bibles, but in these four, N (Codex Sinaiticus), A (Codex Alexandrinus), B (Codex Vaticanus), and C (Codex Ephraemi), it is placed after 2Thessalonians. This testimony to the foregoing is significant, and is not to be lightly set aside.”
The text is to explain the purpose of the message God sent through his son and the first chapter explains the position of Christ as the Subordinate Elohim of Israel and the elohim of the Psalms especially Psalm 45 (No. 177) quoted below. Verse 2 explains that God created the ages through Christ whereas God Himself created the world in the Beginning from Job 38:4-7. Thus there were two creations the first in Job 38:4-7 and the Second after the world had become tohu and bohu or waste and void in Genesis chapter 1. Christ did not create the world as the English translation states. The word is Aeon or “age”. Also the text proceeds to explain Psalm 110 (No. 178) and the function of the Priesthood of Melchisedek that is a priesthood forever which is applied to the elect as an immortal priesthood of those that have been selected for the First Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143A) and in the millennial system.
The true purpose of Hebrews cannot be understood within a Trinitarian framework. Such doctrine works to confuse the plan of God and the salvation of mankind.
Hebrews begins by explaining the position obtained by Christ. Chapter 1 explains how Christ was taken from the Angelic Host as a son of God and made lower than them but then elevated above them as High Priest as the elohim of Israel. Much is made of the difference of Christ to the angels by Trinitarians in order to make Christ distinct from the angels but the elohim were all sons of God and Christ was one of them as we see from Gen. 48:15-16 and Deut. 32:8 RSV and DSS and LXX; Job 1:6 and 2:1 and 38:4-7; Ps. 45:6-7 and also at Heb 1:8-9 below. The text is that the throne of the Elohim of Israel is unto the age of the age. Therefore the God of Christ anointed him with the oil of gladness above his comrades or partners who were the elohim or sons of God.
The text then proceeds to explain the position of the Nation of Israel with the faith and as the priesthood of Melchisedek under Christ as their High Priest.
The position of Melchisedek needs to be understood also before Hebrews can be unraveled (see the paper Melchisedek (No. 128)).
1 In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs. 5 For to what angel did God ever say, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"? Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"? 6 And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." 7 Of the angels he says, "Who makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire."
We now see the composite meanings referring to the Son and the One True God within the OT typology and also the New Covenant prophesied in the Psalms and Ezekiel and explained in the NT and especially here. The explanation of the Cherubim in Ezekiel continues:
“The Glory of the Lord came to the house and then departed and stood over the cherubim. The cherubim then mounted up and stood over the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house – every one of them. This is the entrance reserved for the prince. From this ascent the Glory of the Lord became the prince of the covenant and fulfilled Psalm 45:6-7 (cf. Heb. 1:8-9). This being was Messiah. His throne was a throne of God.
Hebrews 1:8-9 But of the Son he says, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous sceptre is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, thy God, has anointed thee with the oil of gladness beyond thy comrades." (RSV)
From his ascent he was anointed beyond his comrades. He became a son of God in power from his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4).
The typology of this activity is represented by the Atonement sacrifice. The bull was sacrificed for the sin offering of Atonement (Num. 29:1). This was offered both for the high priest and the priesthood (Lev. 16:6,11). Thus Messiah was sacrificed to redeem both himself and the Host. The offering was similar to the sin offering for the priesthood (Lev. 4:3-12). The distinction of the two lay in the blood ritual. As part of the daily sacrifices or services, the priest dipped his finger in the blood and sprinkled it seven times before the Lord in front of the veil of the sanctuary (Lev. 4:6) and also on the horns of the altar of incense in the tent of meeting (Lev. 4:7). On Atonement, the high priest entered the sanctuary with incense (Lev. 16:12-13) and brought the blood of the bull into the Holy of Holies where he sprinkled it seven times before the covering which is translated mercy seat (Lev. 16:14).
The high priest brought a censer full of burning coals from the outer altar and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small (Lev. 16:12). The smoke of the incense covered the so-called mercy seat which is over the testimony (Lev. 16:12). This testimony was the Ten Commandments or the tablets of the law.
The cloud of incense was symbolic of the shield of the cloud of the Messenger of the Presence when it appeared to Israel. Its function was thus to symbolically protect the high priest from his exposure to the presence or “glory” of God.
The blood was sprinkled seven times over the covering and then again seven times in front of it (Lev. 16:14). This was the sanctification of the priesthood and the reconciliation of the nation for the sins during the year.” (cf. No. 196).
Thus the Hebrews text also extends to the messiah as the Elohim of Israel and then to the Elect as the Sons of God as Elohim (cf. Zech. 12:8) and part of the priesthood as we will now see unfold.
8 But of the Son he says, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous scepter is the scepter of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, thy God, has anointed thee with the oil of gladness beyond thy comrades." 10 And, "Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; 11 they will perish, but thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment, 12 like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years will never end." 13 But to what angel has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet"? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?
At this text God is explaining that the angelic Host are ministering spirits sent forth to support Christ in the elevation of mankind to the level of Elohim as we know from Zechariah 12:8. The message then proceeds in chapter 2 to say that messages proclaimed to us through angels was firm and if those disobeying were punished how greater responsibility was it placed upon us who were given salvation. So the message was attested by the Lord and those who heard him and God himself attested it by signs and wonders. This text thus makes distinction between the Lord who is the Son of God and God himself who is the source of our salvation.
Chapter 2 explains that Christ was made for a little while lower than the angels and was subject to temptation and suffered death for the salvation of man but it was not for the Angelic host that the world was made and the world to come was subjected and the plan of salvation was determined. It was done so that mankind could become elohim and become sons of God under Christ as their High Priest who was to taste death for Everyone.
1 Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will. 5 For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere, "What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him? 7 Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, 8 putting everything in subjection under his feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Note (cf. 2:11) that he who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are of all one origin. That makes equal both the sanctified and the sanctifier all of one origin both the son of God of the Spiritual host and the human host of the same origin and we are all brothers as sons of God.
11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying, "I will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee." 13 And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." 14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. 16 For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
Christ sanctified the heavenly sanctuary as well as the earthly sanctuary. He was anointed with the oil of gladness above his partners or comrades by his elohim as elohim of Israel which was to become the centre of the human system. (Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8-9). God was not concerned with the heavenly Host but with the earthly Host in the descendants of Abraham and for that reason Messiah was sent to earth. The heavenly Host were loyal and as such had not lost the Holy Spirit or their relationship as sons of God. Only the fallen Host and the humanity of Earth were in danger.
So the Humanity of Christ was essential to elevate us to his status as an elohim. a son of God, through the sacrifice of Christ; who was the angel of Yahovah at our head of all of the Household of David (Zech. 12:8) (cf. Commentary on Zechariah (No. 021K)).
So also he had to be a son of God so that he could save all of the sons of God. both Heavenly and Human.
Note in chapter 3 it is said that Christ was faithful to Him who made him. However the word was mistranslated to appointed to make it appear that Christ was not made by God, but rather appointed. However, the word is poiesanti meaning the one making him and it is only ever rendered thus (see also chs. 9 and 10 comments re the above).
1 Therefore, holy
brethren, who share in a heavenly call, consider Jesus, the apostle and high
priest of our confession. 2 He was faithful to him who appointed him,
just as Moses also was faithful in God's house.
3 Yet Jesus has been counted worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house has more honor than the house. 4 (For every house is built by some one, but the builder of all things is God.) 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6 but Christ was faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.
Here the distinction of the calling becomes evident. This entire sequence was mirrored in the artefacts of the Temple and in the method of worship and sacrifice.
Each object has significance and the symbolism of the power of God was the Ark of the Covenant (cf. 196 and also chs. 9 and 10 below).
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, when you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. 10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, `They always go astray in their hearts; they have not known my ways.' 11 As I swore in my wrath, `They shall never enter my rest.'" 12 Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end, 15 while it is said, "Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." 16 Who were they that heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they should never enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
So these people are shown that there is order in the building of the House of God and Christ has authority over Moses and is the Head or High Priest of the House of God. However it is all the construction of God who sent Jesus Christ (Jn. 17:3).
Chapter 4 then goes on to exhort the brethren so as not to waste their calling. For it was by faith that they were called and by faith they retain their position. This is the key or exemplary purpose of the Faith Chapter in Hebrews 11. It is by continuing without sin that we retain our position as we see developed in this chapter. Sin is transgression of the Law (1Jn. 3:4) and only by following the Laws of God do we retain our position. The rest of Christ is the Millennial Sabbath Rest of Messiah as the penultimate phase of the Kingdom of God before the final extension of Spirit beings to all both heavenly and human.
1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest remains, let us fear lest any of you be judged to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them; but the message which they heard did not benefit them, because it did not meet with faith in the hearers. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, "As I swore in my wrath, `They shall never enter my rest,'" although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way, "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works." 5 And again in this place he said, "They shall never enter my rest." 6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he sets a certain day, "Today," saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, "Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later of another day. 9 So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God; 10 for whoever enters God's rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Christ was made a man so that he could sympathise with our weaknesses so that we could draw near to the throne of grace in confidence.
So also we see the millennial rest of Christ as the Thousand years between the First and the Second Resurrections of the Dead as explained in Revelation chapter 20. And of which rest Christ is the great High Priest after this order of Melchisdek. For that reason he is not the God that is worshipped but the High Priest who conducts that service and worship.
Chapter 5 then deals with the appointment of Christ as High Priest after he was tested. This also deals with the false doctrines of the Greeks and their requirement for Christ to have been part of the God otherwise he would be a vicarious sacrifice and unacceptable to them. The argument stems from their worship of the Binitarian structure of Attis and Adonis stemming from the worship of Baal and the goddess Ashtoreth or Easter in Syria and the Levant.
Christ was not naturally high priest. Nor did he exalt himself to that office. The failure to understand this important point was the reason Hebrews criticised the church as we see below (Heb. 5:11-14)
The fact is that Christ was chosen by God as His High Priest and we are not interested with what apostate Greeks determine to be so. God determines it and it is so. Christ is the designated High priest of the order of Melchisedek of which we are appointed as priests to serve in the Temple of God for it was Levi that tithed to Melchisdek in the loins of Abraham as did all the sons of Israel and of Ishmael and Esau and Keturah and the tribes to be selected from them as priests of Melchisedek also. In this order Levi is but one of the Tribes and part of the priesthood under Messiah.
1 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. 3 Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. 4 And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"; 6 as he says also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchiz'edek." 7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9 and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchiz'edek. 11 About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of God's word. You need milk, not solid food; 13 for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
Christ was created by God as His son. He was made perfect so that he might be the source of eternal salvation to those that obey him as their High Priest. God created the elohim as sons of God and a created order of beings as Elohim sons of God and at that point Eloah as the One and Only True God became the centre of the Eloim as Ha Elohim as Gods. Hence all carry the title as yahovah or “He causes to be” when speaking for God (cf. the paper Angel of YHVH (No. 024)).
It is at this point we are able to go on from the elements of the law regarding ablutions, of faith and repentance, and go on to the higher purposes of the Law and the Testimony for if we do not speak according to them there is no light in us (Isa. 8:20).
1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 with instruction about ablutions, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt. 7 For land which has drunk the rain that often falls upon it, and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed; its end is to be burned. 9 Though we speak thus, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, "Surely I will bless you and multiply you." 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. 16 Men indeed swear by a greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he interposed with an oath,
“Christ was the first of a line of brethren that would bring the Kingdom of God within men and lead them to a new spiritual existence.
The Ark will be brought to mind no more because it was the centre of a system that has already passed away. It was replaced by a new system that is centred on the power of God and makes men extensions of His being by virtue of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The way into the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy of Holies was made open for us from the death of Christ at Passover. On his death the temple veil was torn in two and the way into the Holy of Holies made open (Mat. 27:51; Mk. 15:38; Lk. 23:45; Heb. 6:19; 9:3; 10:20).” (cf. No. 196).
18 so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God should prove false, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchiz'edek.
It is through this faith that we are all made eligible to be High Priests in our own right going behind the veil as Christ was made able to go behind the veil as our High Priest superseded those of Levi so we all might be worthy of that order and distinction.
It is from Chapter 7 that we see the priesthood explained in more detail. Here Melchisedek is explained as the superior priesthood and the sons of Shem are blessed in this regard but all the Gentile nations are made eligible though Melchisdek to be priests of God under Jesus Christ their High Priest who was of Judah and of them no one had spoken of priests. However they are all listed from Revelation Ch. 7 as priests of the Tribes of the 144,000 and the Great Multitude. In this aspect it is most important that we understand that the Ark of the Covenant was to represent mankind as the repository of the Laws of God and the Testimony of the Holy Spirit that was to reside in mankind. For that reasons it was hidden by Jeremiah as it was to be no more brought to mind (see the paper The Ark of the Covenant (No. 196)).
1 For this Melchiz'edek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; 2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.
The text holds that Melchisedek means both king of righteousness and king of Salem, or peace. The understanding of the Hebrew according to both Milik and Vermes is that Melchisedek means My King is Justice (or Righteousness) and he is king of the Army of light. Satan’s name is Melkiresha’ meaning My King is Wickedness (see J.T. Milik, Journal of Jewish Studies, 1972, pp. 126-135 and also Vermes, op. cit., pp. 252-253). There is no doubt that we are dealing with the Satan/Messiah battles of the last days in the view of the DSS.
3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest for ever.
He is held to be without father and without mother and without pedigree (apatoor, ametoor, agenealogetos). He has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. The Messianic view of this text seems to be based on the assumption that he had no genealogy and that he was eternal. Thus he was Messiah. The text says that he resembled the Son of God. It does not say that he was the Son of God. The word is aphomoioo: to assimilate closely, or make like. Thus he was made like the Son of God. The intent is equally as valid that this entity, being one of the patriarchs, was conformed to the image of the Son of God, as were all the elect, in the spirit, and made a priest of the type that would replace the Aaronic even before the Aaronic was appointed. The text reads that he remains a priest in the perpetuity (see Marshall’s Interlinear). The term continues a priest forever is construed to entail continued life. That is not the case other than in the same sense as the elect are termed as falling asleep.
The meaning of these texts is discussed in Melchchisdek (No. 128) in relation to the law governing the priesthood. The promise of this priesthood is found in Hebrews 6:17-20.
4 See how great he is! Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe of the spoils. 5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brethren, though these also are descended from Abraham. 6 But this man who has not their genealogy received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.
This text also says that this man not counting his pedigree from them (see Marshall’s Interlinear) received tithes from Abraham. It does not say that he did not have a pedigree.
7 It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 8 Here tithes are received by mortal men; there, by one of whom it is testified that he lives.
These two verses are the key text for the assertion that Melchisdek is not human. The same assertion is made of the elect. They do not die. They fall asleep (1Cor. 15:6,18).
9 One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchiz'edek met him.
The payment of tithes in the priesthood was to show that the laws of God continued and was not dependent upon Moses and the Levitical priesthood.
11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levit'ical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchiz'edek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
The extension of the priesthood beyond Levi is specifically mentioned from this text. The text goes on to mention the likeness of Messiah to Melchisedek. However it refers to the Messiah as being “after the order of” and he is then elevated beyond the original.
15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchiz'edek, 16 who has become a priest, not according to a legal requirement concerning bodily descent but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchiz'edek." 18 On the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
The intention of the elimination of pedigree as the purpose of the text is made explicit here. The priesthood is conferred not by bodily descent but by the power of an indestructible life (see Rom. 1:4). Thus the Holy Spirit conferred the power on Melchisedek as it did on Abraham and all the patriarchs, as well as David, the Judges and the Prophets, continuing to the apostles and the elect. The importance of the text is not in the fact that Melchisedek might have been Messiah but, rather, it is more important if he was not.
20 And it was not without an oath. 21 Those who formerly became priests took their office without an oath, but this one was addressed with an oath, "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, `Thou art a priest for ever.'" 22 This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant.
It is by the testimony of God that the elect took office. Messiah was given office by the promise of God by oath.
The Levitical priesthood were prevented by death from continuing in office. They will partake of the second resurrection. The order of Melchisedek will partake of the first resurrection. Those of the elect have a better resurrection (Heb. 11:35).
23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever.
The continuation forever stems through death to the resurrection. The priesthood is not removed from the elect, as it was not removed from Messiah and the patriarchs.
25 Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.
Thus Messiah was the culmination in this new order of priesthood which extended to those who were chosen by God, who appointed Messiah and made him perfect forever.
We have seen that some Judaic sects identified Messiah as Michael (from Dan. 12:1). The assumptions are based on the fact that Michael stands for the people of Israel, and the Nation Israel was given to Yahovah by the Most High when He divided the nations according to the sons of God (cf. Deut. 32:8 RSV, the LXX and the DSS). Melchisedek has the meaning My King is Righteousness or My King is Justice (justice and righteousness being synonymous) (Vermes, Dead Sea Scrolls in English, p. 253). It was also assumed that Melchizedek was a name for the leader of the Army of Light, which we have seen is a function of Messiah (Vermes, p. 260).
Those assumptions are made from the damaged Testament of Amram. That would be consistent with the Melchizedek-Messiah nexus among the Essene. However, were Melchizedek to be Messiah then there is a serious problem with the incarnation and the sacrifice. We will now take up the relationship of the law to the priesthood.
The title appears to have been the hereditary title of the king of Jerusalem (or Urusalaim). Hundreds of years after Abraham we meet another king bearing the similar title Lord of Righteousness or My Lord is Righteousness, during the occupation of Canaan by Israel under Joshua. Here in Joshua 10:1 we meet Adonizedek, which is another variation of Melchisedek, ruling in Jerusalem. The title, in its variant forms, is thus hereditary and vests in Messiah by virtue of his rulership from Jerusalem, and was perhaps viewed in this way by David also. In this way also the elect are priests from the order of Melchisedek, because they rule with him from Jerusalem as elohim (cf. Zech. 12:8; Rev. 7:1-17).
The Christian assumption that Melchizedek is Messiah rests on a misunderstanding of the texts in Hebrews 7:3. The terms without father, mother and genealogy (apator etc.) refer to the requirement to have recorded Aaronic lineage (Neh. 7:64) for the Levitical priesthood.
The term beginning of days and end of life refers to the requirement to commence duties at thirty years of age and cease at fifty years (Num. 4:47). The High Priest succeeded on the day of his predecessor’s death. Melchizedek has no such requirement. Hebrews records in the Marshall’s Interlinear translation that he was a man (Heb. 7:4). He was made like the Son of God (Heb. 7:3) yet he was not the Son of God, who was another priest (Heb. 7:11). Thus all the elect can participate in the priesthood, being made like unto the Son of God, regardless of lineage and age, continuing in perpetuity. As to who Melchisedek was we can only surmise. The Essene construed the text messianically as have some modern fundamentalists. The element of the Paulicians who also held this view were termed Melchisedekians, but they made him distinct from Messiah as the heavenly mediator (see the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)). Hebrews appears to have been written so as to correct this error but has itself been misconstrued. The Midrash holds that he was Shem (Rashi) being king (melek) over a righteous place (tsedek) (Abraham ibn Ezra & Nachmanides). This place was where the temple would be built for the Divine Presence, which the Midrash applies to Jerusalem as a whole from the text Righteousness lodged in her (Isa. 1:21) (ibn Ezra & Nachmanides, see Soncino, fn. Gen 14:18).
More importantly, the concept of a Council of Elohim was absolute and is undeniable as being the properly understood meaning of the Old Testament texts involving the elohim. The subordinate structure of the Elohim is understood on one hand, but misunderstood in relation to Michael and Melchizedek.
Revelation 4 and 5 show that this group numbered thirty entities including the four cherubim. Thus thirty pieces of silver were required for the betrayal of Christ (Mat. 27:3,9; cf. Zech. 11:12-13) as it was an offence against the entire Godhead. The Elders are charged with monitoring the prayers of the saints (Rev. 5:8) and Christ is their High Priest. He was the member of the Elders who was found worthy to open the scroll of the plan of God having ransomed men and made them a kingdom and priests to our God – i.e. the God of the Council and of Christ (Rev. 5:9-10).
The ransom of men is part of an end time restoration, which occurs on the second coming of Messiah as King of Israel; his first coming being understood as the Messiah of Aaron. This first Messianic advent was the atonement for sin and the establishment of the Melchisedek priesthood. The end-time restoration was understood to be an extension of the elohim as portrayed in Zechariah 12:8.
In this order we are given eternal life and through the First Resurrection we continue as priests forever and then we are able from the Second Resurrection to enable all mankind to attain eternal life in this priesthood.
From Chapter 8 we see the purpose of the High Priest and its place where Messiah is seated by the throne at the Right Hand of God and working to attain the calling for all mankind and all given to him from the beginning of the world. Christ was to serve in the Heavenly Sanctuary, of which the Earthly Sanctuary was but a copy.
1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary; for when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "See that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain." 6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second. 8 For he finds fault with them when he says: "The days will come, says the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and so I paid no heed to them, says the Lord. 10 This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, `Know the Lord,' for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." 13 In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
The Tent and the earthly sanctuary and Temple were modeled on the Temple in the heavens. The entire purpose of the Creation and the establishment of the Tabernacle was to establish a priesthood of the sons of God that also involved a human element of the same type so that the end would be a spiritual structure of humans and elohim (incorrectly termed angels from the Greek word for messenger) such that all would become elohim and all would reach repentance and forgiveness and sanctification and under one of them that was of the two elements and who was qualified by self sacrifice to lead them as High Priest in the service of God their Creator under the being who was sent to qualify them. In order to achieve that aim, all humans would eventually have salvation extended to them firstly through the Patriarchs and Prophets and then through the Messiah and the Apostles and then extended to the Gentiles in accordance with the Plan of God so that all would become the Temple of God. The end result was that God and Christ would be part of and live within the spiritual edifice that was the Human and Heavenly Host that became the Spiritual edifice that is the Temple of God.
The achievement of this was laid out as the First Covenant that came from the prophets and the Nation of Israel from which the Messiah sprang that was the star that came from Jacob (Num. 24:17). By star it was meant that he was to be the Morning Star that replaced Satan on the earth as leader of the Host. The Holy of Holies or naos was only available to the High Priest and then but once a year. In order to extend that First Covenant Christ as High Priest had to enter with his own blood but also the church had to prove its worth as part of the sacrifices that they had to endure over the Forty jubilees of the Church in the wilderness in the selection of the 144,000 and the Great Multitude of Revelation Ch. 7. The extension of the Holy Spirit to the church was the Second Covenant extended to mankind so that they themselves could become High Priests in their national divisions of the Seventy (Two) and then onwards over the age and the expansion of the Heavenly Host.
As we saw from chapter 6 above the Ark represented the elect as the repository of the Holy Spirit and the law of God, which is His nature, and which is given to develop us as the Logoi of God as Christ was Logos before us.
Over this Ark stood the cherubim of Glory. These Cherubim of Glory were the appearance and glory of the Lord which the elect are destined to be also.
It is from chapter 9 that we see the purpose of the sanctuary developed from the First into the Second Covenant.
1 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, 4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary is not yet opened as long as the outer tent is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various ablutions, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
The text in Hebrews explains the contents of the Sanctuary but does not explain the meaning of the contents of the Holy of Holies. This inner sanctuary or tabernacle was reportedly hidden by the prophet Jeremiah on the orders of God. Why was that the case and what does the symbolism represent? These questions were not explained and they need to be explained in these latter days. They are examined in the paper The Ark of the Covenant (No. 196).
Thus, from above, Messiah had to be made the mediator of the New Covenant especially as he was the giver of the First Covenant to Moses in the wilderness and thus the death of the testator was required in order that the New Covenant might replace the old by its extension to mankind through the Holy Spirit and extended to the Gentiles also through the Blood of the Lamb of God. It was by this act that the sacrifices were done away once and for all.
15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Hence even the first covenant was not ratified without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you." 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
So then: Why did Jesus have to die? We saw from previous analysis that the process of sin would be allowed to be introduced through the Heavenly Host at the highest levels of the Covering Cherubs. We saw also in the plan of God that the instrument of salvation had to come from both levels and one of the Elohim, or Sons of God, had to become a man and die both for the Heavenly Host and the Human Host that was corrupted by them. This was the Angel of the Presence that was the elohim of Israel who was to become Jesus Christ (Gen. 48:15-16; Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8-9). In that way they could all become Sons of God as elohim (see Jn. 10:34-36). This means of salvation had to come from the Highest levels of the elohim and he was taken from one of the core thousand of the sons of God (Job. 1:6, 2:1, 33:23).
The reason The Old Covenant was done away was for very good reason and is also as follows in chapter 10 referring back to Psalm 110 (cf. Psalm 110 (No. 178)).
1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered? If the worshipers had once been cleansed, they would no longer have any consciousness of sin. 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. 4 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. 5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me; 6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure. 7 Then I said, `Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,' as it is written of me in the roll of the book." 8 When he said above, "Thou hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, "Lo, I have come to do thy will." He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds," 17 then he adds, "I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more." 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. 19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on the prisoners, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. 37 "For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry; 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls.
So we see that the thing that became obsolete in the Old Covenant was the sacrificial system for redemption which became unnecessary as it conferred no direct relationship with God through direct access through the Holy Spirit. With direct access through the Holy Spirit we were able to keep the law directly without teachers, being guided directly into the ways and nature of God.
This New Covenant was foreshadowed by the nature of the recording of the law. Moses had the law given to him on two tablets of stone. These were cut out by God. However, on their destruction by Moses he (Moses) had to cut another two tablets himself. These tablets were small enough for Moses to carry in one hand. They were also inscribed on both sides. Occasionally Moses carried them in each hand. The inscription of two tablets on both sides points parabolically to the law being of two sides – the physical and the spiritual. The first great commandment, comprised of the first four commandments relating to the God-man relationship, was seemingly on one side. The second great commandment of the physical relationships of mankind was on the other side. The two tablets pointed towards the duality of the law in the same way and also to the second covenant. Thus the structure of the tablets pointed towards the future. Man could not live by the physical law and could not fulfil the law without the Holy Spirit. Aaron’s rod that budded and the manna were also included in the Ark. They pointed towards the power of God in the priesthood and to the preservation of Israel in the wilderness. (This structure of the commandments is a good Bible study in its own right.) The written codes stood outside the Ark (see the paper Distinction in the Law (No. 096); (cf. No. 196)).
Thus we are to see our salvation with the coming of the Messiah as it will come through the Resurrection of the Dead (cf. Rev. Ch 20). That reward is a consequence of our endurance by faith as we then see from chapter 11.
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old received divine approval. 3 By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he received approval as righteous, God bearing witness by accepting his gifts; he died, but through his faith he is still speaking. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith. 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. 13 These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your descendants be named." 19 He considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead; hence, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his burial. 23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king's edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered abuse suffered for the Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king; for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the first-born might not touch them. 29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land; but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given friendly welcome to the spies. 32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets -- 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated -- 38 of whom the world was not worthy -- wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
From the sequence of the faith chapter we see the extension of salvation over the entire brethren from the patriarchs to the prophets and through the Tribes and the Nations and then through the church to the entire world.
All of us were to suffer for the faith. Many of us were killed by various means. These of the early prophets and chosen of God were tested but they were to await us in the first Resurrection and then in the Millennial Reign of Christ. Apart from us they should not be made perfect (see The First Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143A)).
So then we should all be uplifted by our faith and lay aside the sins that beset us and the persecution that we are forced to endure as Christ endured before us for our example. By his endurance and faith he was seated by the Right Hand Side of God as we also will be rewarded who endure. So also will God discipline us and chastise we who are chosen of God.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross (stake), despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? -- "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled; 16 that no one be immoral or irreligious like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. 18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers entreat that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned." 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I tremble with fear." 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 His voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven." 27 This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
Thus God has chosen us to be co-inheritors with Christ and the Heavenly Host and the Assembly of the First Born destined to live within the city of the Living God at Mt Zion and the Heavenly Jerusalem which is the Mother of us all.
In the restoration of the last days, when Messiah shall come to Zion as was understood from Hebrews 12:22-23, the sequence of the advent involved the defence of Jerusalem and the strengthening of the physical inhabitants of the city for the Millennial reign. Yet note Zechariah goes on to state:
And he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the House of David shall be as God (elohim), as the Angel of Jehovah before them (emphasis added).
The significance here was that Zechariah was given to understand that the Angel of YHVH was an elohim, and that the household of David (who was long dead) was to consist of those who would themselves be elohim, as part of David's household.
Hebrews was written for the sons of Jacob and all of the elect chosen by God. It was sent by Paul so that the consistent call of the elect into the priesthood of Melchisedek was extended to all and that we were to understand our position under the High Priest as the First Born from the dead and head of we the chosen priesthood of Melchisedek.
In these last days we are called to the church of brotherly love as the church of the Philadelphians (cf. the Pillars of Philadelphia (No. 283).
1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, "I will never fail you nor forsake you." 6 Hence we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?" 7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited their adherents. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you. 18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. 19 I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. 20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 22 I appeal to you, brethren, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23 You should understand that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. 24 Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. 25 Grace be with all of you. Amen.
So here we are exhorted to love one another and to be content with what we have and to exhort and remember those in prison as though in prison with them. Also exhort those who sin and remind them to repent and restore what they have done and also to refrain from sin. Remember that Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever. The sequence of the church has been the same since the beginning and so do not be led away by strange doctrines.
We have an altar from which those who serve the Tent have no right to eat. We are a higher priesthood of Melchisedek of which those selected of Aaron will be invited to attend but as yet have no right to eat of our Altar. We have no lasting city but we bear abuse so that like Christ we may partake of the city which is to come. For that reason we offer praise to God. For that reason we obey our leaders who bear responsibility for us.
Paul says Timothy had been released and that he would go to the Hebrews in Parthia and sent greeting from the brothers in Italy. Peter who had charge over the Hebrews in Parthia operating also from Antioch later noted the text in his letter to them 2Pet. 3: 15-16 (although even his authorship has been challenged by later sceptics).
Companion Bible Notes
THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE EPISTLE AS A WHOLE.
1:12, 18. DOCTRINAL INTRODUCTION.
1:2-14. SON OF GOD. BETTER THAN ANGELS
2:5-18. SON OF MAN. LOWER THAN ANGELS.
3:1-4:13. THE MISSION OF CHRIST.
3:1-6. THE APOSTLES, &c.
4:1-13. THE REST GIVER.
4:14-16. GENERAL APPLICATION. "HAVING THEREFORE."
5:1-10:18. THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST.
5:5-10. CHRIST CALLED OF GOD AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC.
5:11-6:20. DIGRESSION. EXHORTATION.
7:1-28. PRIESTHOOD OF THE SON (MESSIAH); AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC.
8:3-10:18. THE EFFICACY OF CHRIST'S PRIESTHOOD.
10:19-12:29. PARTICULAR APPLICATION. "HAVING THEREFORE."
10:19-23. EXHORTATION TO DRAW NEAR...CHRIST BEING ACCESSIBLE/FAITHFUL.
10:38, 39. LIVING BY FAITH.
11:1-40. EXAMPLES OF FAITH.
12:5 24. CHASTISEMENT.
12:12 24. COUNSELS AND ENCOURAGEMENTS.
13:1 25. PRACTICAL CONCLUSION.
The general subject of the Epistle is that the Messiah of the Old Testament Scriptures must suffer as Man (i.e. as Incarnate Man), and that Jesus is the Messiah.
ADDRESSED. "To the Hebrews":to the nation under its earliest name, Palestinian Jews and the Diaspora (Joh 7:35) alike. Outwardly for believers (Cp. Heb 6:8; Heb 12:15, Heb 12:16; Heb 13:10).
1:1-2:18. DOCTRINAL INTRODUCTION.
1:1, 2-. God speaking.
-2-14. Son of God. Better than angels.
2:1-4. God speaking.
2:5-18. Son of Man. Lower than angels.
1:-2-14. SON OF GOD. BETTER THAN ANGELS.
-2-3. Glory of His Person and work.
4-7. Superiority over angels.
8-12. Glory of His character and eternal being.
13, 14. Superiority over angels.
2:5-18. SON OF MAN. LOWER THAN ANGELS.
5, 6. God's purpose. Not angels, but man, to have dominion.
7, 8-. Man's equipment for dominion.
-8. First Adam's failure.
9-. Purpose fulfilled in the Lord Jesus.
-9-18. His fitness for dominion.
3:1-4:13. THE MISSION OF CHRIST.
3:1-6-. The Apostle and High Priest.
4:1-13. The Rest-giver.
3:1-6. THE APOSTLE, &C.
2. His faithfulness.
3. Greater than Moses.
5. Moses' faithfulness.
6-. The Son.
6. Condition of belonging to the Lord's house.
7, 8. "Harden not."
10. God grieved.
11. God's oath.
12, 13. Unbelief.
14. Condition of being partakers of Christ.
15. "Harden not."
17. God grieved.
18. God's oath.
4:1-13. THE REST-GIVER.
1. Exhortation. "Let us fear, lest."
2. Reason. The Word of God.
3, 4, 5. God's rest and its character.
6, 7, 8. Perfect rest future.
9, 10. Rest for God's people, and its character.
11. Exhortation. "Let us labour, lest."
12, 13. Reason. God and His Word.
4:12, 13. REASON. GOD AND HIS WORD.
12-. God Whose Word is wonderful.
-12-. What His Word is. Living, powerful, a sharp sword.
-12-. What His Word does. Pierces, divides asunder.
-12. What His Word is. A critic of the heart.
13. God Whose eye sees all.
4:14-16. GENERAL APPLICATION.
14-. Our great High Priest. The Son of God.
-14. Exhortation based upon it.
15. Our great High Priest. The Son of Man.
16. Exhortation based upon it.
5:1-10. THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST.
5:1-4. Priesthood in general. "For ever" (Pas gar).
5:5-10. Christ called of God after the order of Melchisedec.
5:11-6:20 Digression before considering Melchisedec as a type.
7:1-28. Christ called after the order of Melchisedec.
8:1, 2. Summation. Christ the Antitype.
8:3-10:18. The efficacy of Christ's priesthood in particular. "For ever" (Pas gar).
5:1-4. PRIESTHOOD IN GENERAL.
1-. The ordination of the High Priest.
-1. His offering for sins.
2-. His compassion for other' infirmities.
-2. The reason; his own infirmities.
3. His offering for sins.
4. The ordination of the High Priest.
5:5-10. CHRIST CALLED OF GOD AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC.
5, 6. Christ a High Priest.
7, 8. His salvation and obedience.
9. His people's salvation and obedience.
10. Christ a High Priest.
6:4-6. Peril of Apostasy.
5:12-. First principles.
5:-12. Milk and strong meat.
5:13, 14. Milk and strong meat.
6:1, 2. First principles.
7-11. Hope based on illustration of earth, and rain upon it.
12-15. The promises and the oath.
16, 17. The oath and the promises.
18-20. Hope based on illustration of heaven, and Jesus having entered therein.
7:1-28. PRIESTHOOD OF THE SON (MESSIAH):AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC.
1-3-. Melchisedec's greatness. Greater than Levitical priests.
-3. His priesthood not transmissible.
4-10. Greater than Abraham, and therefore than Levi.
11-14. Change of priesthood. Change of law.
15-19. Change of priesthood. Disannulling of commandment.
20-23. The Lord's greatness. God's oath.
24. His priesthood intransmissible.
25-28. The Lord's greatness. Greater than Levitical priests.
8:3-10:18. THE EFFICACY OF CHRIST'S PRIESTHOOD.
8:3-6. A more excellent ministry. A better covenant on better promises.
8:7-13. The Old and New Covenants compared and contrasted.
9:1-5. The earthly sanctuary a copy of the heavenly pattern.
9:6-10. The offerings.
9:11-14. A greater and more perfect tabernacle. His own blood.
9:15-23. The Old and New Covenants compared and contrasted.
9:24. The heavenly sanctuary the pattern of the earthly copy.
9:25-10:18. The offerings.
8:7-13. THE OLD AND NEW COVENANTS COMPARED AND CONTRASTED.
7, 8. The First Covenant faulty.
9. The New Covenant. Not the same in the persons taking part (Neg.).
10. The New Covenant spiritual (Pos.).
11. The New Covenant. Not the same in result (Neg.).
12. The New Covenant spiritual (Pos.).
13. The First Covenant evanescent.
9:15-23. THE OLD AND NEW COVANANTS COMPARED AND CONTRASTED.
15. The Old Covenant related to the promise of eternal inheritance.
16. Death necessary for its making.
18. Blood necessary for its consecration.
-23. The New Covenant related to the heavenly things themselves.
9:25-10:18. THE OFFERINGS.
9:25. Yearly sacrifices ineffectual. Because offered oftentimes.
9:26-28. Christ's sacrifice effectual. Once (hapax).
10:1-4. Yearly sacrifice ineffectual. Offered continually.
10:5-10. Christ's sacrifice effectual. Once for all (ephapax).
10:11. Daily sacrifices ineffectual. Offered oftentimes.
10:12-18. Christ's sacrifice effectual. Having offered One, He sat down for a continuance.
10:19-12:29. PATICULAR APPLICATION.
10:19-23. Exhortation to draw near in view of Christ being accessible and faithful.
10:24, 25. Duty to accept exhortation.
10:26-31. Warning in view of God's being the living God.
10:32-37. Patience in view of the promise.
10:38, 39. Living by faith.
11:1-40. Examples of faith.
12:1. Patience in view of the examples.
12:2-4. Exhortation to look away from examples to the supreme Example.
12:5-24. Duty to endure chastening.
12:25-29. Warning in view of God's being a consuming fire.
11:1-40. EXAMPLES OF FAITH.
1-7. A group of three. Abel, Enoch, Noah.
8-12. Abraham and Sarah.
13-19. General reflections.
20, 21. Isaac and Jacob.
23-28. Moses' parents and Moses.
29-31. Israel and Rahab.
32-38. Two groups. Faith conquering through God; faith suffering for God.
39, 40. General reflections.
5-11. Duty to endure chastening.
12-24. Counsels and encouragements.
12:5-11. DUTY TO ENDURE CHASTENING.
5. Chastening not to be despised.
6. Proof of love.
7. A mark of sonship. Positive.
8. The lack of it. Negative.
9-. Submission to earthly fathers.
-9. Much more to the Father of spirits.
10-. The earthly fathers as they thought well.
-10. The Heavenly Father for our profit.
11-. Chastening for the present grievous.
-11. The fruits afterwards.
12:12-24. COUNSELS AND ENCOURAGEMENTS.
12, 13. The weak to be helped.
14-. Peace with all.
-14. Holiness essential.
15-. Watching against failure.
-15. The defining effect of bitterness.
16, 17. The warning of Esau's disappointment.
18, 19. The terribleness of Sinai.
20, 21. Its threatening of death.
22, 23. The blessedness of the heavenly Jerusalem.
24. Its promise of life.
13:1-25. PRACTICAL CONCLUSION.
7-9. Their teachers. Strange teachings unprofitable.
10, 11. The servers of the tabernacle.
12-16. The sanctified people.
17. Their teachers. Disobedience unprofitable.
18-25. Closing requests and doxology.