Bk Sec Outline Sec Bk The Garments of the Priests Exodus 28 Exodus 28. In the preceding chapters we have had the tabernacle and its furnishings described in striking detail. Next we have the description of the garments of the priests, and their consecration, and afterward the details of the tabernacle resume. Why this change? Why bring […]
Hebrews 3 – 4
Moses and the House of God (3:1-6)
The Wilderness: Warning Against Unbelief (3:7-19)
The Rest of God & Need of Faith (4:1-11)
Three Provisions to Help Us Reach the Rest (4:12-16)
- An Active Agent. “Living”, never becomes dead or outdated, carries means of giving spiritual life, adapts to different needs and situations (John 6:63). “Operative”, works (by Holy Spirit), accomplishes God’s purpose (Isa. 55:11).
- A Discerning Agent. Compared to a sword (Eph. 6:17), pierces, also cuts or makes divisions. Word of God is “sharper”. Two edges: works on the external level (actions), and on the internal level (motives). Division of soul and spirit takes supernatural discernment. Soul: seat of consciousness, identity, responsibility, and desire (Rom. 7:15). Spirit: above the soul, capacity to reflect on his soul, gives God-consciousness. Animals have no spirit (Psa. 49:20; Isa. 31:3). True worship (John 4:24). Humanly impossible to discern, by scripture can. Illustrates with a physical image: “of joints and marrow”, intricate parts of the skeletal system, difficult to locate from periphery, hard to distinguish where one ends, other begins. Only the Word of God can penetrate and separate. Motives and intentions are often disguised (Jer. 17:9; 1 Cor. 4:5). The Word through Holy Spirit identifies the activity of the flesh with conviction.
- A Revealing Agent. Brings us into the presence of God, our soul is laid bare (1 John 3:20; Jer. 17:9; 1 Sam. 2:3). We are fully known of God. Nothing of the flesh is allowed to pass unnoticed, new nature rejoices, any sin we tolerate spoils communion (Psa. 139:23-24). Puts us into responsibility, “with whom we have to do”.
Hebrews 1 – 2
Ch.1-2 sets forth Christ in supreme glory, fulfillment of Israel’s hopes they couldn’t see, now glorified man. Son of God (ch.1, deity) and Son of Man (ch.2, humanity).
God’s Revelation through Son vs. Prophets (1:1-3)
v.1 Revelation Through Prophets. Begins majestically. The revelation of God in the Old Testament was fragmented and partial (directly, in dreams or visions, Hosea 12:10, 13). Never intended to be complete or final.
vv.2-3 The Son & Seven of His Glories That Set Him Above the Prophets. God Himself speaking, in the Person of the Son. Much greater than words given! At the very end God spoke to Israel face to face. Only the Son was competent to reveal God fully. “Speaking” began with Christ on earth, continued from heaven.
- The Heir of All Things. Heir has to do with Who He is (Eph. 1:10).
- The Creator of the Universe. Son is the special agent. Divine wisdom and infinite power.
- The Out-Shining of God’s Glory. Visible manifestation of God’s glory. God’s attributes reflected.
- The Expression of God’s Substance. Had to be Divine. Substance of the Godhead. ‘Homoousios’
- The Upholder of All Things. Sustains all… because His word! Swaddling clothes, crucified in weakness.
- The Purifier of Sins. Sin-bearing specific to “Himself”. Glory of completed works rests on Him alone. Work of redemption far greater than creation.
- The One Seated at God’s Right Hand. In v.13 Son invited, in v.3 His right. A place He won.
Christ Superior to the Angels (1:4) – So Much Better
v.4 More Excellent Name. More excellent name is “Son”. Always had a better place, inherited name “Son” as man. Name never given to angel. Heb. 1:5 – 2:18 expound this superiority.
Seven Old Testament Scriptures Showing Christ Superior to Angels (1:5-14)
Angels figure prominently in the Old Testament (Acts 7:53, Ex. 3:2). The greatest of God’s messengers. A tendency to exalt angels. Essenes (Colossians 2:18-19). Earthly prophets, heavenly angels!
As the Son: His Relationship and Preeminence (vv.5-6)
v.5 A Unique Relationship. Angels called “sons of God” (Job 1:6), never “You are my Son”. Exclusiveness, like “My Father” (John 5:17). Psa. 2 shows incarnation didn’t annul the Sonship. “This day” is incarnation, sonship carried into time! 2 Sam. 7:14 or 1 Chron. 17:13 was Jehovah about Solomon, applied to Christ. Father-son relationship enjoyed as man on earth! No angel. We share (John 20:17)!
v.6 The Place of Firstborn. Angels must worship (Rev. 22:8-9). “Firstborn” is preeminence (Psa. 89:27; Ex. 4:22; Col. 1:15 – not a creature). God’s firstborn: must have highest place, even as man! Quote either LXX of Deut. 32:43, or Psa. 97:7. First coming (Luke 2:13), foreshadow of final fulfillment, shift in administration.
As the God-Man: His Deity and Perfect Humanity (vv.7-9)
vv.7-9 His Deity and Holy Humanity. Angels are servants, the Son a Divine Person! “O God” proves His deity. Angels created beings; God “makes” his angels. A “flame of fire” (Gen. 3:24; Ex. 3:2). Son never made. Co-equal Person, eternal. Character of Messiah’s kingdom; in keeping with the character of the Man. A good definition of holiness: love for right and hatred of evil. Messiah’s walk was perfect, God marks Him, distinguished from faithful remnant. Begins “O God” (deity), ends with “God, thy God” (perfect dependent humanity). “Oil of gladness” is joy of rightful Messiah taking His place (2nd coming), foreshadowed by sealing (Matt. 3:17). This Man lifted above the greatest (1 Sam. 16:13).
As Jehovah: The Eternal, Unchanging, Self-existing One (vv.10-12)
vv.10-12 His Eternity and Immutability. Psalm 102 is the suffering Christ in extremity; anticipating the cross. His deity was not immunity. Christ “poured out his soul unto death” (Isa. 53:12). Natural repulsion to death; especially premature, His rights as Messiah. Middle of v.24 is the answer. Jehovah assures Him of His Godhead glory. Jehovah the Father addressing Jehovah the Son! All Christ suffered as man – including death – did not rob Him one iota of His glory as God! Jehovah “the Same”, a Divine name (Heb. 13:7). The creation perishable. A worn-out garment changed – not self-destruct, but His sovereign will (2 Peter 3:10-13). Things appear permanent will pass, eternal self-existing I AM continues forever! The Psalms are perfection of Christ as man. So fully man that this “encouragement” from God to His Son was “warranted”.
As the Glorified Man: His Place and Prospect (vv.13-14)
vv.13-14 The Glorification of Christ. Psalm of suffering on earth (Psa. 102) followed by Psalm of glorified in heaven (Psa. 110). Scene follows ascension. Enters heaven a glorified man, rejected by earth, accomplished atonement. Psa. 110 answer to Psa. 109; what Jehovah said unto “my Adonai” (David’s Lord). Jehovah as God the Father, speaking to His Son. From ascension until final victory. The royal Son received and crowned. Not the Son seating Himself (v.3), invited to sit. The address or salute (Heb. 5:9-10). Where are angels? God’s right hand never offered… just attendants at a coronation. If angels are great, how much greater the Son! Serve in the capacity of guardians for the saints, even before conversion! There in royal glory, He thinks of our needs. What grace! Epilogue: Christ will share His future throne with friends and co-heirs (Rev. 3:21), His seat now never shared, His alone.
(If You Listened to Angels in the Past, Listen to the Son Speaking Now) (2:1-4)
Warnings against Apostasy. Some made a profession without reality, in danger of abandoning their profession. Apostasy is irrecoverable. Hebrews 2:1-4, 3:7–4:11, 5:11–6:20, 10:26-39, and 12:16-27.
v.1 Danger of Slipping Away. Imperative to be true to the gospel; things heard of the Son. Already known Old Testament, danger of letting go of Christ. Easier to let slip of what is heavenly, spiritual, by faith.
vv.2-4 Neglecting Great Salvation. Moses’ Law “spoken by angels” (Acts 7:53, Deut. 33:2). Word of greater Person, Son vs. angels, warrants greater judgment. Despising grace. Great “salvation” announced when Christ came (Lk. 2:30-32; Lk. 4:16-21; Matt. 1:21). Deliverance of Israel from consequences of sins: wanted external escape instantly (Matt. 21:15); suffering for sin needed first. Confirmed by apostles (Acts 2:40), not Paul’s gospel. Outward signs (1 Cor. 1:22). Judgment fell A.D.70 (worse coming). Some heeded warning Lk. 21:20-21.
Christ as Man in Suffering and Exaltation (2:5-9)
Four Reasons Christ Became Man. (1) to make propitiation (v.17), (2) to fulfill the counsels of God (vv.7-8), (3) to annul the devil (v.14), and (4) to become a sympathetic captain of our salvation (v.10, v.18).
v.5 Angels and the World to Come. A great coming change in this world (Eph. 1:10), “world to come”. God always purposed to put the universe under the headship of a man. Satan attempts to usurp the inheritance. Today God rules through angels. His purpose is steady. The transfer of administration (Rev. 4 – 5).
vv.6-8a The Son of Man in the Counsels of God. Manhood of Christ necessary to fulfill God’s purpose for man: head over all created things, including the angels! In Psa. 8, God’s grace to puny man (‘Enosh’). Adam is the type: steward of the garden, he transgressed, failed in headship. Second man succeeds. “Crowned” in heaven now. Psa. 8 begins with small man, ends with small universe. “Son of man” title in rejection and glory.
vv.8b-9 Christ as a Man in Suffering and Exaltation. All things subject, including angels (Eph. 1:20-21). Angels above men in creation-order. Incarnation a great stoop. As fully Divine “so much better” (Divine Person, (Heb. 1:4), yet fully man “some little inferior”. In resurrection, beginning of new creation. A new race of men, above angels! We are part, but does not yet appear (1 Cor. 15:49; 1 John 3:2; Phil. 3:21). Suffering of death necessary (angels cannot die, Luke 20:36). Restored God’s honor. By faith we see Psa. 8 partly fulfilled, His coronation (John 13:32). This is guarantee of final fulfillment! Fully displayed in Millennium. He tasted death “for every thing”, dealing with issue of sin in general, covering the havoc the outbreak of sin has caused in creation (Col. 1:20). Connected with purchase (Matt. 13:44). He purchased the right to inheritance by vindicating the rights of God concerning sin. Holds title as Redeemer and Creator. The Son’s future dominion is wide as the scope of His past sufferings; universal! We See Jesus: as “view” into opened heavens.
What Christ Has Done for Believers (2:10-18)
v.10 A Perfect Leader. “Sons” resemble God in character (Matt. 5:9; Judges 8:18). God so pleased with His Son wanted to make many more, He the “firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:29). Fitting to God’s character to give “many sons” a perfect Leader! He passed the Captain through every experience – a full resume (v.18). He felt everything without the flesh. E.g. David (1 Sam. 22:2). He is “author of eternal salvation” in the ultimate sense (Moses from Egypt a type, Heb. 5:8-9), and “captain of our salvation” in present, ongoing salvation (Joshua into Canaan a type). What angel could bring sons to glory?
vv.11-13 Of One Kind with Us, His Brethren. Oneness of the Son and “many sons”. Quotes indicate a oneness beginning with disciples after His resurrection. “Oneness of kind”, not we “are one” but we “are of one”. E.g. Adam in Gen. 2, “no helpmate, his like” (compatibility). Mistake to limit to incarnation. Atonement needed to produce oneness of kind. Christ sanctifies, we “all of one” as men totally set apart for God (John 17:19; Heb.10:14). Christ “not ashamed” to call us “brethren”! Psa. 22:22 is answer to cry of suffering seen in resurrection! Partially fulfilled in John 20. Christ leading praises. Lord of all, the Son still a dependent man (Isa. 8:17 LXX). God’s children entrusted to Christ’s care (Isa. 8:18). Not Christ’s children, but with Him.
vv.14-15 Annulled the Devil and Freed Us. Incarnation and reason for it. Compassion for children; i.e. the saints. He “took part”, fully man yet fully God (1 Tim. 2:5; Col. 2:9). Union involved addition, not subtraction. Power of death is Satan’s power to press fear of judgment after death, and sin as “wages of death” on the conscience (Heb. 9:27; Rom. 6:23; Job 18:14). Not His death “for every thing”, but for us. (Luke 22:53; Psa. 22:21). He undermined the Devil’s plans accepting death in perfect submission (John 18:11). David slew Goliath with giant’s own sword. Claims of sin are gone, death no longer holds terror.
vv.16-18 Our Merciful and Faithful High Priest. “Take hold of” means took up the cause of. Seed of Abraham are earthly people under curse of law (John 8:37-39). Incarnation necessary, but goes beyond. Parallel Lev. 16:
- Faithful towards God, make propitiation. God’s glory regarding sins. Day of Atonement (once a year) high priest wears “holy linen coat”, offers to satisfy God’s claims. One-time sacrifice, laid foundation for v.18.
- Merciful towards man, help those being tempted. After, high priest changes into glorious garments, ongoing role of intercessor. Not a sheltered life; like unto his brethren, can sympathize. Suffered “being tempted” (sin apart, Heb. 4:15) without yielding. He is able to help. We too suffer if we do not yield.
Both functions required He be one of the people. We have a perfect High Priest in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 5 – 7
Christ’s Priesthood Introduced (5:1-10)
The Superiority of Christ’s Priesthood. The major point of these verses is to show that the earthly high priesthood Israel had pales in comparison with the heavenly priesthood of Christ!
The Qualifications of a Priest (vv.1-4)
v.4 Called by God. Wrong to appoint themselves , like Korah and associates (Num. 16:1-3), or Uzziah (2 Chron. 26:16). Nor right to be chosen by men, like Jeroboam’s priests (1 Kings 13:33). Must be called by God Himself, as Aaron!
How Christ Exceeds Every Qualification (vv.5-10)
v.7 Offered Supplications and Prayers. Every priest offers (v.1), Christ offered prayers too, in addition Himself (Heb. 9:14; 9:26), before He became High Priest, met the qualification. In view Garden of Gethsemane. Offered to God sacrifices He desired from man: dependence, submission, and obedience unto death. Atoning sacrifice not in v.7, ch.5-7 focus on Priest, don’t have cross in view til ch.8-10 (next section). As He offered, did so with more devotion than any other priest. As perfect man, prayed to His God. “Out of death” not “from death”, “from the lion’s mouth”. Full answer seen in resurrection (Psa. 22:21)! No answer during three hours (Psa. 22:2), but when work complete (Psa. 22:21b). Reason: “heard because of his piety”. Different reason than John 13:32, because glorified God.
Warning to False-Professors, Encouragement for Believers (5:11 – 6:20)
Sad Need to Turn Aside to Less Spiritual Things (vv.11-14)
- Repentance from dead works. Change thinking, but deeper than intellect. A moral judgment, soul takes God’s side in a matter. Results in a change.
- Faith in God. Implicit and complete trust in God, and is the condition for justification.
- The doctrine of washings. Ceremonial washings as under the Old Covenant, may even include John’s baptism, not Christian baptism.
- Imposition of hands. Laying on of hands was a sign of conferring blessing, fellowship, or authority. It was an outward sign, practiced in both Old and New Testaments. But those things are not the focus in Christianity!
- Resurrection of the dead. The resurrection is another doctrine that is known and precious to Old and New Testament saints alike. Note that it is simple “resurrection from the dead” rather than “from among the dead”. The latter expression conveys the truth of the special or first resurrection, which Jesus introduced and Paul fully developed.
- Eternal judgment. Another weighty matter that is considered elementary is that of eternal judgment. This was known in the Old Testament and acknowledged in the New Testament. However, the New Testament brings out the hope of the Lord’s coming as the Christian’s hope, and this shows how sad it would be to never move beyond the basics!
- First, they were “once enlightened” by the gospel shining the light of the knowledge of God on their minds. But knowledge is not equivalent to divine life.
- Second, they “have tasted of the heavenly gift” which refers to Christ glorified in heaven. This was an object far above this world. The professing Hebrews tasted this gift in that they were surrounded by those who were looking up, sustained by an object in heaven! But to taste the gift is not the same as receiving it.1
- Third, they had “been made partakers of the Holy Spirit”, not in the sense of indwelling them, but externally in the sense that they were part of God’s House by profession, in which the Holy Spirit dwells. False professors are part of God’s house, and they thus “partake” in a limited sense of the Spirit. The same word for “partakers” is translated “partners” in Luke 5:7. For example, an unbeliever who was attending a local assembly – Paul spoke of the assembly in Corinth; “…God is in you of a truth…” (1 Corinthians 14:25). But only true believers are individually indwelt by the Spirit.
- Fourth, they had “tasted the good word of God”. A person may hear and be attracted to the Word of God, and especially the offer of salvation – even witness the impact of the Word on consciences with power like Simon Magus (Acts 8) – and yet it not be “mixed with faith” (Heb. 4:2).
- Fifth, they had seen “the works of power of the age to come”. The “age to come” refers to the Millennium (Heb. 2:5), when the Spirit will be poured out on all flesh with great power in blessing on the earth. What was witnessed by the Hebrews near the Day of Pentecost displayed in miracles, tongues, and mighty acts of power (Heb. 2:4) was a foretaste of that same millennial power! But even with this testimony, some of the Hebrews would reject it.
7 For ground which drinks the rain which comes often upon it, and produces useful herbs for those for whose sakes also it is tilled, partakes of blessing from God; 8 but bringing forth thorns and briars, it is found worthless and nigh to a curse, whose end is to be burned. vv.7-8 An Example From Nature. The writer of Hebrews goes on to describe the condition and judgment of the Hebrew apostates with an example from nature. He uses the example of rain which falls on two kinds of ground. Both good and bad ground receive the same rain, but they produce different results. If the tilled land produces useful herbs, it proves that it really “partakes of blessing from God”. But if the ground brings forth thorns and briars, then it is “found worthless and nigh to a curse”. Useful growth manifests reality (Luke 8:15). Regression to a worthless state manifests a false profession only, and warrants severe judgment; “whose end is to be burned”. It is remarkable that rain is used as a picture of the blessing of the Spirit, and in the Millennium in a literal way, springs and rivers will be everywhere (Isa. 35:1,7; 41:18), even where there was once desert!
Encouragement for the Faithful (vv.9-12)
The three things mentioned - faith, love, and hope - are the three great moral principles of Christianity; without which there would be no Christianity. Many times in the New Testament faith, hope, and love are put together (1 Cor. 13:13; Gal. 5:5-6; Col. 1:4-5; 1 Thess. 1:3; 1 Thess. 5:8-10; Heb. 6:10-12). Faith is implicit and complete trust in God: a total contrast to the unbelief and skepticism in the world around us. Hope for the believer is a deferred certainly; whether it be the hope of the Lord's coming, or of being conformed to the image of Christ, or of enjoying the glory of God. Love is a settled disposition of favor: something God has toward us, and what we ought to have toward our brethren. These three principles "now abide" (1 Cor. 13:13), and are necessary for the pathway.But not all three will abide forever. Faith and hope are good companions for the pathway, but we will part company with them at door of heaven. Faith and hope are only needed because of the limitations of the human nature. When we get to heaven, we will see that which faith is the evidence or conviction of presently (Heb. 11:1). Our hope, being seen, will no longer be hope (Rom. 8:24). In other words, faith and hope will give way to sight. But love is the essential character of God, and it will never fade nor be replaced! Therefore, “the greater of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).
Christ’s Melchizedek Priesthood Greater than Aaron’s (7:1-28)
Hebrews 7. The writer of Hebrews is going to show that Christ’s priesthood is greater than Aaron’s, and the way he will do this is by turning to another Old Testament priest named Melchizedek, who was greater than Aaron, and then showing that Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, and therefore far superior to Aaron. The aim of all this is to show the Hebrews that they lost nothing, and actually gained a great deal more, by leaving Judaism for Christianity. Two scriptures are referenced primarily, Genesis 14 in the first ten verses, and then Psalm 110 in the remainder of the chapter.