Teaching and Study Notes...

The Letter of Hebrews

(The Superior Christ)




The Letter of Hebrews employees a two types of 'Eschatology' to achieve its purpose. - (Realised and Future).


The Writer brings to the reader, key facts relating to the full effect of the salvific work of Christ our high priest.


The writer argues that Christ Jesus having been himself perfected through suffering. He is the 'Author of eternal salvation' for others [Heb. 5:9].


Who are brought to glory along with him as the 'Captain' of salvation [Heb. 2:10].


Further, the writer identifies that Christ Jesus has 'passed' through the heavens [Heb. 4:14].


Therefore, entering into the heavenly sanctuary as a 'forerunner' [Heb. 6:20].


Who now in exhultation [Heb. 1:13; 7:26; 8:1; 12:2] Has made it possible for others to receive an eternal inheritance [Heb. 9:15].



Therefore.....



The book (codex) [epistle / letter] of Hebrews shows us that Christ Jesus is superior... To


The prophets [Heb. 1:1-3]; The Angels [Heb. 1:4-2:18]; Moses {Heb. 3:1-4:13]; Aaron [Heb. 4:14-10:18].


The writer Clarifies that Christ Jesus is superior in a new and living way [Heb.10:19-12:29].


The book then concludes with exhortations, requests, greetings [Heb. 13:1-25].




Therefore - In the light of these facts:



We have already 'tasted' the 'heavenly' gift, the 'goodness of the word of God' and 'powers of the age to come' [Heb. 6:4-5].


But we have still to realise the full assurance of hope to the very end [Heb. 6:11].


We must await the day when Christ Jesus will return to take us unto himself [Heb. 9:28],


We have already been sanctified by Chris Jesus' 'once for all' self offering [Heb. 10:14],


We live in an interim period where not all of Christ's enemies have been put under his feet [Heb. 10:13],


Therefore the writer exhorts his readers to hold fast to their confession [Heb. 3:6; 4:14; 10:19-22;],


We have to approach God with confidence [Heb. 4:16; 10:19-22;].


We have to avoid sin that will result in judgement [Heb. 6:4-8; 10:26-31; 12:14-17; 12:25-28].



Key words


Better - a chain of the writers thought throughout the letter.



We see that Christ Jesus is a ... Better... Revelation [Heb. 1:1-4].


We see that Christ Jesus is a ... Better... Hope [Heb. 7:19].


We see that Christ Jesus is a ... Better... Priesthood [Heb. 7:20-28].


We see that Christ Jesus is a ... Better... Covenant [Heb. 8:6].


We see that Christ Jesus is a ... Better... Promises [Heb. 8:6].


We see that Christ Jesus is a ... Better... Sacrifice [Heb. 9:23].


We see that Christ Jesus is a ... Better... Possession [Heb. 10:34].


We see that Christ Jesus is a ... Better... Country [Heb. 11:16].


We see that Christ Jesus is a ... Better... Resurection [Heb. 11:35].



The writer then explains that 'He Sat down' - referring to the finished work of Christ Jesus [Heb. 1:3; 10:12; 12:2].



We are partakers of His Heavenly - calling [Heb. 3:1].


We have a great priest [Heb. 4:14].


We have tasted the heavenly gift [Heb. 6:4].


We have a better and enduring substance(possession)[Heb. 10:34].


We have a prepared Country and City [Heb. 11:16].


We have come unto mount Sion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem [Heb. 12:22].



A series of 11 exhortations - 'Let us -



We are called not to Fear [Heb. 4:1].


We are called to labour [Heb. 4:11].


We are commanded to come boldly to the throne of grace [Heb. 4:16].


We are commanded to go on to perfection [Heb. 6:2].


We are called to draw near [Heb. 10:22].


We are called to hold fast [Heb. 10:23].


We are called consider one another [Heb. 10:24].


We are called to lay aside every weight and run with patience [Heb. 12:1].


We are called to have grace [Heb. 12:28].


We are called to go forth [Heb. 13:13].


We are commanded to offer the sacrifice of praise continually. [Heb. 13:15].


We see the superiority of the new dispensation [Heb. 7:19; 8:6; 9:23; 11:40; 12:22; 12:27].


Breakdown - The Letter of Hebrews

(The Superior Christ)




The 'Breakdown' mainly consists of two parts:


Part 1 Doctrinal


Part 2 Practical



Part One - The Doctrinal Section:



[Heb. 1:1-4] - Introduction - The Father, A God who speaks/


a) - Genesis - 22:7


b) - Moses - Deuteronomy 28:18


c) - Aaron - Exodus 7:1


d) - Elijah - 1 Kings 28:22


Note:


With the advent of the Birth of Jesus (The Son of God) into the world a new era has begun.... Superseding the old order of The Law.


The universe, since creation has always belonged to The Son of God, for it was through His agency, along with the Father and Spirit that all forms of created existence came into being.


At the end of this age cf. [Heb. 9:26] (1 Peter 1:20; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 10:1; Colossians 1:16; John 1:3.



Note: verse 3 - He is the reflection of God's glory, and the exact representation of God's being.


The present tense used here (He is...) and the following statement of fact {which is not explained by the writer} denotes both His eternal nature and the radiance of 'His Glory'.


The very glory of God is his divine nature manifested to men (John 1:14). In the Old Testament this comprises of radiance, righteousness, and power.


The New Testament tends to reveal this as an eschatological understanding since that full glory will not be revealed until the last day.


The Son does not simply resemble certain aspects of the father, He is the exact representation of The Fathers essence.


Ie., that which is God which makes God be God. Therefore, Christ Jesus, can only represent the'Father' because 'He' is 'Divine'.



[Heb. 1:5-2:18] - The name 'Christ Jesus' is superior to the Angels.

Christ's exhultation to the highest honour was not a new 'New', position within the Godhead.

It did not involve a new status, but the return to 'His Rightful Position' (Philippians 2:6-11) from the beginning of creation.



i - [Heb. 1:5-14] - We see the supremacy of The Son to the Angels.


ii - [Heb. 2:1-4] - We have a warning about neglecting 'So great a salvation'.


iii - [Heb. 2:5-9] - We see Him 'Subjecting all things' cf [Heb. 2:7].


iv - [Heb. 2:10-18] - We see 'merciful and faithful high priest'.


v - [Heb. 3:1-4-13] - We see a Faithful Jesus


vi - [Heb. 3:1-6] - We see that His is 'Worthy of more glory than Moses'.


vii - [Heb. 3:7-19] - We see 'The rebellion in the wilderness'.


vii - [Heb. 4:1-13] - We are called to 'Strive to enter into that rest'.


viii - [Heb. 4:14-5:10] - We see 'Christ Jesus' the compassionate high priest - A great high priest,



[Heb. 5:11-6:20] - Christ Jesus: The High Priest.



A: [Heb. 5:11-6:3] - A warning against 'Apostacy' Food for the mature.


B: [Heb. 6:4-12] - We are called to 'Go on to maturity'.


C: [Heb. 6:13-20] - We are told of the 'The surety of God's oath'.



[Heb. 7:1-28] - According to the order of Melchizedek.



1: [Heb. 7:1-10] - Melchizedek and Abraham.


2: [Heb. 7:11-19] - Christ Jesus a priest in the likeness of Melchizedek,


3: [Heb. 7:20-28] - A priest forever.



8:1-9:28 - Christ Jesus perfected.



i [Heb. 8:1-6] - Christ Jesus the High Priest.


ii [Heb. 8:7-13] - The New Covenant.


iii [Heb. 9:1-10] - The ritual of the first covenant.


iv [Heb. 9:11-14] - The ritual of the New Covenant.


v [Heb. 9:15-22] - The death of the mediator.


vi [Heb. 9:23-28] - The sacrifice of the New Covenant.


[Heb. 10:1-18] - Christ Jesus the source of eternal salvation - Once for all sacrifice,



Part Two - The Practical Section:



[Heb. 10:19-39] - The final exhultation.


[Heb. 10:19-25] - The Call to Approach.


[Heb. 10:26-31] - A warning of judgement.


[Heb. 10:32-39] - A note of hope.


[Heb.11:1-40] - The faith of the Ancients.


[Heb. 11:1-3] - The sphere of faith.


[Heb. 11:4-7] - The assurance of faith.


[Heb. 11:4] - Abel


[Heb.11:5-6] - Enoch


[Heb. 11:7] - Noah


[Heb. 11:8-12] - The faith of Abraham, Sarah and their descendants.


[Heb. 11:13-16] - The desire for a better country.


[Heb. 11:17-22] - Abraham to Joseph.


[Heb. 11:23-31] - Moses and the Exodus Generation.


[Heb. 11:32-40] - The faith of the persecuted.



[Heb. 12:1-13] - The necessary endurance of the believer.


[Heb. 12:1-2] - Looking unto Christ Jesus.


A: [Heb. 12:1] - the audience, preparation and how to run.


B: [Heb. 12:2] - Fix our eyes upon the master, Christ Jesus.


[Heb. 12:3-13] - The discipline of suffering, the value of hardship and correction.



[Heb. 12:3-4] - Christ our inspiration when weary.


[Heb. 12:5-10] - The value of hardship and correction in training.


[Heb. 12:11] - The results of hardship and correction.


[Heb. 12:12-13] - An exhortation to sturdiness and straight forwardness.


[Heb. 12:14-13:17] - The peaceful fruit of justice.


[Heb. 12:14-15] - respect, peaceableness, purity, watch against evil influences.


[Heb. 12:16-17] - The second warning against Godlessness, selling out life's blessings.



[Heb. 12:18-24] - The comparison of Mount Sinai to Mount Zion.

Mount Sinai - manifestations of divine power.

Mount Sion - The heavenly company within the heavenly Jerusalem.



[Heb. 12:25-28] - A solemn warning to respect the heavenly message with respect to earthly things and the permanence of God's kingdom.



[Heb. 12:28] - God is a consuming fire.



[Heb. 13:1-6] - The final exhortation - social duties.



[Heb. 13:7-17] - Offering a sacrifice of praise.



i [Heb. 13:7] - To religious leaders.


ii [Heb. 13:8-9] - An unchangeable Christ inspires steadfastness in Christian doctrine.


iii [Heb. 13:10-14] - The duty of Christian separation.


iv [Heb. 13:15-17] - The duty of thanksgiving, benevolence and obedience to rulers,


Heb. 13:18-21] - A request for prayers and a blessing pronounced.



[Heb. 13:21-25] - Conclusion - Benediction and farewell greetings.




Some questions to ask about the text you are reading.



What type of text is it?


Where can I find more information about the text?


Who wrote the text?


Who was the intended reader – ie., Who is the writer speaking to [is it an individual or a group of people?


What is the point that the author is making ie., what is the purpose of the text?


How was the text transmitted to others?


When was the text written?


Where was the text written ie., what is the cultural background of the text?


Would their cultural experience or background have helped or hindered their understanding of this text?



Specific question about the text.



Is the statement or text you are reading simply a ‘fact’?


Is it simply written in the first person, for example how is the text being presented to you as you read it?


Is the text informing you of a point of information or simply causing you to stop and think?


Is the text a statement which questions the readers spiritual position?


Is the text part of a larger context and if so what is being said?


Is the text bringing clarity to a previous text?


Is the text a statement by the author which continues from a previous chapter?


Is the text a statement which has relevance today, if so, in what way and can the text be applied within my own cultural understanding?


Would members of non-Christian groups have had access to this text?


Would members of other religious groups (ie., Pharisees / Sadducees or Zealots etc) have had access to this text?


Ask yourself, would any other individuals or grouof individuals have been expected to read or have had opportunity to read this text? Ie., would it have been a private document?




In the light of these questions:



Is your new understanding about this text: for example, about the way this text would have been interpreted by the original reader?


About the way they would have understood the text?


Note:


There is a great difference between interpreting a text and that of understanding a text: it is important to note that incorrect interpretation will give an incorrect understanding and a misguided view of scriptural integrity leading to incorrect spiritual lifestyle. Discuss the importance of correct interpretation of text.



Ask yourself how the reader would have reacted to the text?


Put yourself in the position of the original reader, how would you have reacted to the text.


What does the text say to you personally?


Ask yourself, what practical application does this text have in relation to my personal spiritual life, or the life of my church group?


Are there any other questions that you personally could ask about this text and what it is saying?


Ask yourself if questions like this are important to the individual reader and the ministry of the church today?

Christian Biblical Scriptures

Billy Bray, a famous Cornish Evangelist speaking of his conversion tells us that he "... shouted for Joy. I Praised God with my whole heart for what he had done for a poor sinner like me; for I could say, The Lord hath pardoned all my sins. I think this was in November, 1823, but what day I do not know. I remember this that everything looked new to me, the people, the fields, the cattle, the trees. I was like a man in a new world... ... they said I was a mad man but they meant I was a glad man, and glory be to God! I have been glad ever since." - Bray, B., (1962), Billy Bray The Kings Son, The Epworth Press, City Road London E.C.1, Pages 19-20

Lee Strobel explains that 'Zechariah 2:10-13 predicts a time when "many nations will be joined with the Lord" and become his people. The New Testament authors certainly believed that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy... ...The inclusiveness of Jesus' ministry, his teachings and the outreach of his church are evidence that salvation comes through faith, not cultural pedigree. Although this concept may have shocked many who adhered to Jewish tradition, it gave hope to people who had never experienced hope.' - Strobel, L., (1984), The Case for Christ Study Bible: Investigating the Evidence for Belief, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, USA., page 1290

Lee Strobel tells us that "...This central message of the bible portrays Jesus and our redemption through his blood. Finally once and for all, he dealt with the issues of our guilt, our loneliness and ore alienation from God. Through his atoning death and ressurection, he opened up heaven for everyone who follows him.' - Strobel, L., (1984), The Case for Christ Study Bible: Investigating the Evidence for Belief, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, USA., page 1464.