So That You May Not Grow Weary – Hebrews 12-13

In Hebrews chapter 12, the writer offers encouragement to the Christians he addresses. Some were no doubt experiencing persecution. All throughout the gospel, we are told of trials and suffering that we will endure. It should, then, come as no surprise to us when they occur.

English: Pagans kill Christians in Pliska.

English: Pagans kill Christians in Pliska. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The writer speaks of trials that we experience because of the sinful world that we live in. Those who dwell in that darkness are hostile to us, as they were then. On that subject, he reminds them of Jesus:

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

That is true of most of us. But many have died in those days, and even today we see that Christians are being killed for their faith.  So then in chapter 13, he quotes from Psalm 27:1, saying “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

We might say, “well they can kill me!” Jesus said in Luke 12:4: “do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.” Our lives here in a world that is not our home are simply the beginning. Beyond this life, no man has power of any kind over us.

The other kind of suffering the writer talks about has to do with the normal day-to-day trials, pain, grief, and yes, even suffering of a physical and mental nature. God does not cause bad things to happen to us. But He will allow them to happen if it will strengthen us and build our endurance.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Hebrews

Heb. 9, Heb. 10, Heb. 11, Heb. 12, Heb. 13

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Stirring Up One Another – Hebrews 10-11

Beginning in verse 11 of Hebrews chapter 10, the writer compares the sacrifices made by the priests under the old law to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ:

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Frans Floris - The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, ...

Frans Floris – The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Gathering and Protecting Mankind – WGA7949 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And then, speaking of how Christians must work together to hold one another up, verses 23-25 explain what we have discussed before in this blog about “going to church.” So many people are convinced that they can serve God just as well from their own living rooms. But like so many other references, this passage explains that we need each other, and Christianity is not about one’s own selfishness. Salvation cannot be obtained without giving of yourself to your brethren:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.

Chapter 11 is the well-known “faith” chapter, speaking in detailed examples of faith throughout the scriptures. Verse one is most famous: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

But the writer is not talking about simply a “blind” faith, as skeptics would have you believe. We have a reasoned faith because of a great many evidences that we only have to open our eyes to see. We know that is true because God tells us all throughout the Bible, as Paul told the Romans in Romans 1:18-25:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Hebrews

Heb. 9, Heb. 10, Heb. 11, Heb. 12, Heb. 13

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Eternal Redemption- Hebrews 9

English: The Holy Place of the Biblical Tabern...

English: The Holy Place of the Biblical Tabernacle; illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Hebrew writer further explains in chapter 9 how the blood of Christ secures “eternal redemption.” He explains in verses 1-10 how the tabernacle had been set up, what the holy place was for and where it was located, and finally how the Most Holy Place was separated. The priests went into the first section, but the High Priest alone went into the most holy place — and then only once per year.

These places and those things in them, he says, are mere copies of the heavenly places. By contrast, Jesus Christ has entered into heaven “now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” He has done that by sacrificing His own blood. And unlike the high priests before Him, He only had to do that once.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Hebrews

Heb. 9, Heb. 10, Heb. 11, Heb. 12, Heb. 13

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Priest of a New Covenant – Hebrews 7-8

In chapter 7, the writer of Hebrews offers some explanation of the “order of Melchizedek.” In Genesis 14:17-20, He is called “priest of God most high.” But Melchizedek came along before the Levitical priesthood. Aaron himself had not been born yet– much less Levi. It is clear that Melchizedek was a special case, and that he was very important. He blessed Abraham; and verse seven of Hebrews 7 says “It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.”

Photograph of medieval canvas "Abraham an...

Photograph of medieval canvas “Abraham and Melchisedek” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We know very little about this man. His genealogy is not given. He was the king of Salem. Some suppose that this was a shortened name for Jerusalem. If so, that would seem meaningful to us. But the most important thing for us to get from all of this is that Jesus is said to be the new “high priest;” and that He was a priest after the order of Melchizedek. He was not a Levite, and therefore could not be a priest under the old law. But he is to  be thought of as a priest under the new covenant, in that He intercedes for us through our prayers.

But unlike the high priests who had sin in their own lives, and would have to sacrifice for themselves as well, Jesus was without sin. He bore our sins for us on the cross. The writer closes chapter 8 by confirming the replacement of the old covenant with the new, when he says is verse 13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Hebrews

Heb. 4, Heb. 5, Heb. 6, Heb. 7, Heb. 8

 

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

A Better “High Priest”- Hebrews 5-6

In chapter 5, the writer of Hebrews starts the chapter with an explanation of all that he had to say previously about Jesus being a “high priest.” Many Jews would appreciate the analogy because they were accustomed to having a high priest. In verse 6, he states that He was a priest “after the order of Melchizedek.”  This was quoted from Psalm 110:4.

Jewish high priest wearing a hoshen, and Levit...

Jewish high priest wearing a hoshen, and Levites in ancient Judah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The writer tells them that there is more he needs to tell them, but then begins a rebuke. He tells them that they have become “dull of hearing,” and that by now they should be teaching others. But instead, they are in need of “milk” instead of “solid food.” Those he was addressing had not grown spiritually. And how does on e become mature? The writer says it is attained by “those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Verses 4-8 of chapter 6 do not mean that there is a sin that is unforgivable. It simply means that it can be much harder for one who has tasted of salvation to come back once they stray than for someone to be converted who has never heard the gospel.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Hebrews

Heb. 4, Heb. 5, Heb. 6, Heb. 7, Heb. 8

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Let Us Hold Fast- Hebrews 4

The Hebrew writer continues in chapter 4 with the comparisons he began in the previous chapter between Christians and those who rebelled against God and wandered in the desert for 40 years. They were not allowed to enter God’s rest, he says. And he says in verse 11: “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”

Before he died, Moses looked from Mount Nebo across the Promised Land. Because he had sinned, the Lord would not permit him to enter the land (Joshua 1).

Before he died, Moses looked from Mount Nebo across the Promised Land. Because he had sinned, the Lord would not permit him to enter the land (Joshua 1).

The writer then repeats the reference to Jesus as high priest, but as one who knows what we face each day:

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. For we do not have 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. 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.

 /Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Hebrews

Heb. 4, Heb. 5, Heb. 6, Heb. 7, Heb. 8

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Falling Away – Hebrews 3

Hebrews 3 is one of a few places that the theory that “once someone is saved, they are always saved” falls apart. It is possible to fall from grace, and indeed here the writer warns us to take care and guard against it. In fact, that is the entire point of this chapter. Consider verses 12-14:

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  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. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

Let that sink in. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. How do we guard against that which we do not even think possible for ourselves? We will not guard against it as we should, unless we realize that each of us is capable of falling away. It is another way that Satan can gain power over us.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Philippians and Hebrews

Phil. 3, Phil. 4, Heb. 1, Heb. 2, Heb. 3

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Delivered From Lifelong Slavery – Heb 1-2

This previous post contains some discussion on the subject, but we truly do not know who wrote the Book of Hebrews. It is very much a book that celebrates the Son of God as the savior of the world. Verses 3 and 4 of chapter one state that after “making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,  having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. This theme, and a comparison of the old law to the new covenant we have in Jesus resound throughout the book.

crucifixion01The writer cites many passages from the Psalms in this chapter — (verse 5) Psalm 2:7, Psalm 89:26-27, (verse 6) Psalm 97:7, (verse 7) Psalm 104:4, (verse 8) Psalm 45:6-7, (verse 10) Psalm 102:25-27, and (verse 13) Psalm 110:1. These are all, of course, Messianic passages. The writer is making comparisons between Jesus and the angels, asking whether God had considered them to be as important as Jesus. Of the angels, the writer asks “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” The angels do indeed have an important role for us, but obviously, it pales in comparison.

The writer continues in chapter to press the importance of the mission of Jesus, saying that for a little while, He was made lower than the angels, so that He might taste death for everyone. And in verses 14-17, he said:

…he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,  and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.

Christians, as Paul told us in Galatians 3, are the offspring of Abraham through Christ. And he then speaks of Jesus as our “high priest”in verse 17. The term will come up again later in the book.

 /Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Philippians and Hebrews

Phil. 3, Phil. 4, Heb. 1, Heb. 2, Heb. 3

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Forgetting What Lies Behind – Philippians 3-4

Chapter 3 of Paul’s letter to the Christians at Philippi contains only 21 verses, but it is some of Paul’s finest writing. Paul really “gets it,” when it comes to the gospel, and he tells us what it is all about for us right here. He starts out comparing Christians to those of the circumcision party that suppose their status under the old law makes them chosen (having confidence in the flesh). He makes the point that if such things mattered, he has more reason than those of that party to be confident.

Philippi theater.

Philippi theater.

Paul then lists his credentials as a Jew, and as a Pharisee. Though a persecutor of the church, he had been in a position that was respected and honored. But all of that he says he counted as loss for knowing the Lord Jesus Christ:

that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

He has not attained perfection, he knows. And he has not done anything on his own.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

Paul knew, and he was trying to make them see, that this world is not our home. We must set our minds apart from those who wish to be of this world — those who make themselves enemies of the cross:

Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

He closes the letter in chapter 4, sending encouragement and prayers with two of the best passages for advice for Christians of all time. The first, in verses 4-7:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And the second in verse 8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Philippians and Hebrews

Phil. 3, Phil. 4, Heb. 1, Heb. 2, Heb. 3

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Have This in Mind – Phillipians 1-2

Paul begins his letter to the Christians at Philippi without the statements that defend his apostleship, seen in some of the other epistles, which leads us to believe that no such controversy existed there at that time. It is another epistle written from prison; and one in which he offers encouragement for the saints there. It was the first church that he established in Europe, and where he converted the Philippian jailor. He assures them of his well-being, and in verse 12 states that his imprisonment has actually served to advance the gospel.

Philippi Basilica A.

Philippi Basilica A.

He wants them to know that he will come to see them if possible, but that whether or not he does, he wants to hear that they “are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.” He tells them that they are privileged that for the sake of Christ they believe in him — and that they will suffer for His sake, just as Paul has.

He continues that theme in chapter two. Not only will Christians suffer for Jesus, but they are supposed to put others ahead of themselves, doing nothing from selfish ambition, but looking toward the interests of others. That is hard to do sometimes, and Paul knew it. So he gave them the following words to encourage and embolden us, knowing the reward that Jesus claimed for us:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

If Jesus could selflessly do all that for us, we can endure anything comes our way in life until we receive our reward.

 /Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Ephesians and Philippians

Eph. 4, Eph. 5, Eph. 6, Phil. 1, Phil. 2

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.