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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

To the Hebrews

The New Testament book that we simply refer to as “Hebrews” has been something of a mystery as to its author forever. The earliest church traditions ascribe it to Paul. But there are problems with doing so, not the least of which is the fact that the writing style is so different from anything else he wrote. Also, Paul’s entire ministry, as ordained by the Lord, was devoted to spreading the gospel throughout the Gentile world. So scholars throughout the ages have had to concede that only the Lord knows who wrote it.

Hebrews 10:23

Hebrews 10:23 (Photo credit: [Share the Word])

But neither of those arguments preclude preclude Paul from teaching Jewish Christians. In fact, at a time when Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles was well established, it makes perfect sense for him to do so. Secondly, a different writing style would not be unusual at all when you think about it. The author was addressing his fellow Jewish born Christians, and their backgrounds and frame of reference would certainly be different. They would also have different challenges and experiences with persecution from many of the Gentiles, particularly in the area of idolatry. It hardly matters, though. We have enough information from its acceptance by the early church and from its content itself to be certain of the book’s inspired nature.

English: The world as known to the Hebrews. A ...

English: The world as known to the Hebrews. A map from “Historical Textbook and Atlas of Biblical Geography (1854)” by Coleman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was clearly written in the first century, as the references to Timothy indicate. And the author often writes about the Jewish sacrificial system in the present tense, indicating that it still was being practiced as Jews would expect (such as in Hebrews 9:6-7). This would indicate a date before 70 A.D. The author obviously was familiar with his audience, as indicated by Hebrews 13:17-19:

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls…Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order cthat I may be restored to you the sooner.”

The message of the book is to encourage the saints to endure, and to not forsake Christ. His promise of eternal life is just as reliable as any of God’s promises ever have been. It also confirms Him as being fully God, and the upholder of all of creation. He is higher than the angels, and as the new “High Priest,” He is higher than the earthly priesthood of the old covenant.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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Hebrews 11 – By Faith

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to the Babylonian king's golden statue, so the king ordered them thrown into a fiery furnace. But God protected them (Daniel 3)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to the Babylonian king’s golden statue, so the king ordered them thrown into a fiery furnace. But God protected them (Daniel 3)

Famous for the great description of faith in verse 1 (“faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”), Hebrews 11 is (arguably most unfortunately) often called the “Hall of Faith” or the “Faith Hall of Fame.” Most of the accounts of people in this chapter are familiar to most people.  Some of the references are not so clear, and some maybe not so familiar.  Verse 33’s reference to those who “quenched the power of fire” is likely of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from Daniel 2:49-3:30.  Verse 35’s women who “received back their dead by resurrection” is likely (among others) of Elijah raising the son of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17-24) and Elisha raising the son of a Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:18-37).  Verse 37’s gruesome deaths may refer to the extra-biblical accounts of the deaths of Jeremiah and Isaiah.

But this chapter is not an account of extraordinary men and women with supreme faith.  It is rather the story of ordinary men and women like you and me, who because of their faith in God, were blessed with the power and grace of His mighty hand.  It is the story of their endurance and perseverance through all manner of evil against them and bitter times, and how that endurance saw them through it by their faith.  It is the assurance that the recipients of this letter can persevere by their faith through the endurance the writer encouraged them to have in chapter 10.  It is the assurance that we can do it as well.  We have a better promise, through a better covenant, and if we are faithful, we will receive our reward – which will be the same perfect reward those mentioned in this chapter will ultimately receive (verses 39-40).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Hebrews 10 – The Full Assurance of Faith

In the previous chapters of this letter, the writer has been driving home the superiority of the new covenant, and of Jesus as our high priest.  He continues in verse one, stating that the law was just “a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities.”    The sacrifices of old, year after year, were just a temporary forgiveness of sins because “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”  But Jesus Christ came to do God’s will (verses 5-7 quote Psalm 40:6-8), and offered Himself up as a single sacrifice for all time (verses 10-12).

Crucifixion

Crucifixion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verses 19-23 bring it all home.  Whereas before we as servants of God could not enter the holy place, Jesus has torn the curtain – the veil – open for all time (an allusion to the literal event of Matthew 27:51-52 when Jesus was crucified).  And because we have “a great priest over the house of God,” we can draw near with confidence, clean from evil conscience, and with a true heart – full of the assurance of faith that our sins are forgiven.  We can now hold fast to our hope without wavering because “he who promised is faithful.”

Verses 24-25 are quoted often to remind us that we need to be faithful in attendance of worship, as it says:

“…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…”

Those who claim they can serve the Lord themselves without being part of a worship service ignore this passage at their own peril.  How can we “stir up one another” or “encourage one another” if we do not meet together, as the writer, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says?  Verse 26, and following, warn of the danger of trying to “go it alone.” It is far too easy to slip away from the path, and back into sin.  As verse 31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

We need each other because that encouragement, those things that “stir up one another” help give us endurance.  And we “have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.