Shawn Bumpers / General
Introduction and Chapter 1
Today we move into the Book of Hebrews.
The book itself was written probably sometime between 64-68 AD.
Now, who wrote it?
We don’t know … it’s one of the mysteries of the New Testament that persists today.
• There is some tradition that points to Paul as the author.
Hebrews 13:23 NKJV
Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly.
As to why Timothy was in prison, we don’t know.
The fact that the author ministered with Timothy is not conclusive evidence, either.
As we’ve seen from Paul’s letters, he was not the only person whom Timothy ministered with.
One thing we can make a “more than educated guess” about is that the author was Jewish.
Another important consideration is who this letter was written TO.
One thing that is often used to reject Paul’s authorship is the lack of an introduction.
In 63 BC, Judaea came under the protective hand of Rome.
Christology is quite simply the study of the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
Soteriology is the study of the doctrine of salvation.
The very first chapter of the first book of the Bible uses the phrase, “Then God said” many times over.
Psalm 19:1 NKJV
The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
There is a deliberate comparison being made here between what was before and what is now.
In the Old Testament with it’s laws and it’s system of constant sacrifices to cover sin to the perfect sacrifice of Christ that is able to atone for sins once for all.
Romans 8:3 NKJV
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
Hebrews 11:40 NIV84
God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
There is a phrase we should look at more closely here.
That phrase ‘in these last days’ is shorthand for this era of grace in which we live, between the first and second comings of Christ.
The not so distant past for the Jewish readers of this letter had been discouraging.
Following Israel’s captivity in Babylon, hopes were revived for the return of the visible manifestation of God.
Haggai 2:7 NKJV
and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts.
Zechariah 6:12–13 NKJV
Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the Lord; Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” ’
During this time in Israel, messages of hope were rarely heard.
Despair was everywhere.
• The coming kingdom belongs to Jesus.
• Creative power belongs to Jesus.
• Also, Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power.
To ensure that His purposes are fulfilled, God governs the affairs of men and works through the natural order of things.
Luke 22:22 NKJV
And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”
• The next phrase is, “When He had by Himself purged our sins.”
Purged here is the Greek word καθαρισμός katharismos meaning “purification.”
Exodus 12:3 NKJV
Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.
John 1:29 NKJV
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Leviticus 17:11 NKJV
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’
Hebrews 9:14 NKJV
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Deuteronomy 17:1 NKJV
“You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God a bull or sheep which has any blemish or defect, for that is an abomination to the Lord your God.
Leviticus 4:20 NKJV
And he shall do with the bull as he did with the bull as a sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them.
Hebrews 7:23–24 NKJV
Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.
Matthew 5:17 NKJV
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
• He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High
Because He lives, He has a permanent priesthood.
Therefore, he is able to save to the uttermost everyone who comes to God through Him … He ever lives to intercede for them.
Our great High Priest is seated; therefore we have the security of a finished work of atonement.
When the author speaks of Jesus seated at the right hand of God, he is thinking of what is written in Psalm 110.
He actually quotes from Psalm 110 several times later in this letter.
Psalm 110:1 NKJV
The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Seated speaks of a finished work … the sacrificial work is done.
It also speaks of high honor.
Verse 4 concludes the introduction and sets up the next section.
The Son is superior to the angels.
1 Timothy 2:5 NKJV
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
Hebrews 1:5 NKJV
For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”?
Acts 9:20 NKJV
Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
In verse 5, the author of Hebrews quotes from Psalm 2.
That Psalm actually deals with the concerted rebellion of the nations and their rulers against God and His Anointed One.
The author is continuing his line of reasoning that Christ is greater than the angels.
He does so by quoting Deuteronomy 32:43 from the Septuagint.
Colossians 1:15–16 NKJV
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
Colossians 1:18 NKJV
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
The author has very well established the superiority of Jesus Christ over angels.
And he presses the point with this quote from Psalm 104.
The author quotes from Psalm 45 here.
And in doing so, his point is that angels minister before the throne; they do not sit on the throne.
The Greek word Christos and the Hebrew word Mashiach both mean “Anointed One.”
This long quote comes from Psalm 102.
The angels are a part of creation.
Hebrews 13:8 NKJV
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Psalm 110:1 was in the mind of the author of Hebrews at the beginning of the letter and He quotes the Psalm here.
So why do we need to know this?
After all, no one worships angels today, do they?
But what about placing anything between us and Christ?
There are quite a few people who place things in between them and Christ.