Bible Book of Hebrews Commentary | Free Bible Commentary | Agape Flashcards
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble…”
|The Free Bible eBook Series is a simple and definitely fallible (and possibly wrong at times) interpretation of the different books of the Bible. When deciding to share this series it was because of one vision and idea, that average Christians (denomination irrelevant) can share their thoughts about the Bible and like Ecclesiastes states, “they can help each other succeed.” The content of these eBooks should not be taken at face value but compared with your own understanding of the scriptures discussed.|
One of the great common day ironies of Christianity is that although our faith may be the most important thing of our lives, it is also the thing we are most hesitant to share. It makes me sad when my few Christian friends and I spend time together with no mention of Christ. It makes me cringe to think that strangers who are Christians will talk about everything under the sun but will hesitate to share the joys of their faith.
This series is crafted with untrained hands but with a hearth full of Christ’s love. It may be informative, it may be revealing, and with God’s Grace, it may be enlightening. The goal though is for it to be a conversation piece, a common ground Christians can relate to and share, and a way to ensure no one falls alone.
|In my personal opinion (which doesn’t carry a lot of weight), Hebrews is the single most important book in the bible for Christians to understand. It is the quintessential, the answer to all of our questions about what Christ did for us, about why the old and new testament are so different, why the world is the way it is, our purpose as Christians, and so much more. It is a powerful book that defines who we are as Christ’s children, and if you are anything like me, this book will leave you feeling part of a big and wonderful family working to build a kingdom. I’m telling you, if people were magically limited to only be able to read one book in the bible, I would choose Hebrews hands down. If I were denied this book, I would grieve with such grief that the angels may cry.|
What I find most curious about the book of Hebrews is how little I heard of it before stumbling upon it myself. I didn’t read Hebrews (at least that I can remember) until I was 26. I’m sure I heard it referenced now and then in church, but when I read it I wondered, why in the world doesn’t every pastor, every Christian even, make a huge deal about Hebrews. Heck, why doesn’t everyone period know about Hebrews. I mean this is the kind of stuff that should be pointed out to non-Christians.
I will stop singing Hebrew’s praises, I believe you get the point. Dedicate some time to study Hebrews and take it all in. I can promise your walk with God will never be quite the same.
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”
|Hebrews, chapter 1 is short and sweet and immediately establishes one thing for us to understand; Jesus is the real deal. It’s a good lead in to the rest of this dense and wildly mind opening book which will explain in fascinating detail what exactly it is that Christ’s coming and going did for the human race.|
Starting with verse 5, this chapter recounts many of the things the Lord said about Jesus and his coming. The narration style is seamless, making it seem like the different quotations are or were said fluidly at once, but when you look closer you find they come from different parts of older scripture, especially from Psalms. If you have time, take a look at each reference.
- Hebrews 1:5 Psalm 2:7
- Hebrews 1:5 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chron. 17:13
- Hebrews 1:6 Deut. 32:43 (see Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint)
- Hebrews 1:7 Psalm 104:4
- Hebrews 1:9 Psalm 45:6,7
- Hebrews 1:12 Psalm 102:25-27
- Hebrews 1:13 Psalm 110:1
So yea, there really isn’t a whole lot more to dig into for this chapter. It establishes an undeniable truth of Christ’s position before it brings us into the grimy details of this new life he gave us; the old and new tabernacle.
“For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”
|Not to discount the rest of the chapter, but we are going to jump straight into verse 15 as it is utterly fascinating. It is a precise and exact statement of what Jesus did for us on the cross, “and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” I think it is important when reading this chapter to really think about what slavery because of the fear of death entails. I mean, if you really think about it, everything you do that is a sin or causes us to separate from God is a direct result of us fearing death, even if it’s in our subconscious. When you do things you know are wrong, it’s your body’s reaction to fearing death and your own mortality. Your body fears that it may never get a certain experience, or that it may regret not doing this or having that before it is no more. Because of this tendency, our slavery is the result of sin which comes from our inherent fear of death. This is why we do drugs, we fear we will never get to experience a crazy high before we’re gone, why we hook up with random girls or guys, we may never get a better lust quencher, why we put money first, because we fear we may never have a greater power than what the green gives us. There is also direct fear of death, where people’s relationship with God is hindered because they focus too much on salvation and their personal security and assurance of not having to face death. When Christianity simply becomes a means to life after death, is a person really saved? When we follow Christ only because we want to go to heaven, we’re still a slave to death. When your relationship with God focuses on death and salvation, you’re missing a huge part of it. This is another form of slavery. There is also slavery due to fear of death in the form of denial of God and sin, trying to hide the issue at hand. You fear death so much that you try to ignore it and this enslaves you to a life of denial, a live void of actions and consequences. This leads to people making terrible decisions and erratic behavior. There are endless ways that fear of death enslaves us, and it’s very much worth the time to explore those different reasons and explain them to yourself. Every one of us is affected by our fear of death in some way and the things we do is a direct result.|
You may say sure, everyone fears death, but does Christ really set us free from that fear and its negative consequences? Yes! When you seek a relationship with God, and you truly feel it, like he becomes your best friend, you will know that there is nothing better than that high, than that moment he pours his spirit on a room of people, when a friend gives up their sins and asks God for salvation, when you think of the amazing things he’s done and he will have us do when we join him. There is nothing better. So all the mistakes and sins we make become less important, our fear of death and of missing experiences diminishes, we are set free. Similarly when we mature as Christians and have an active relationship with him and we move away from the simple monotonous routine of repentance and hoping for salvation after death, we are freed from that fear. When you know your salvation is assured, you can move past that. We don’t have to work towards it, we can focus our efforts and passions on the here and now, where God is working, and bringing others the freedom he has given us.
“Just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.”
|So as I was reading this verse, at first it seemed pretty easy to skim over it and not really notice the significance of it. But as I read it a second time God drew my attention to it, and as I thought about it he gave me this image in my head of what it means for the builder of the house to have greater honor than the house itself. At first I didn’t agree with this, because if you think about it, buildings get allllll the attention in this world relative to its builders. Buildings last for a long time and are highly visible and beautiful buildings receive recognition from people allll over the world. Most builders are not even heard of, much less recognized and remembered. But see, I was thinking about it all wrong. It’s just like God talks about in Matthew 6. You see, recognition and glory from the world is worth absolutely nothing, and in Matt. 6 God says that when we pray and fast, or do anything for him but we brag about it or garner recognition from our peers, that’s all the recognition you will receive. God’s not going to give you glory, because you already received it from those around you, and by your action of making it known to them, you’re in a sense telling God their recognition is more important. You want to be just like a builder. You build this beautiful massive building that lasts for so long and houses many, many people and parts of their lives and many projects, etc. That building will endure and see more and provide more than any one person could do in their life. But that builder will receive almost no recognition from people. But think of the glory and recognition you will receive from God! How perfect!!! It’s the perfect allegory for what we are to be as Christians.|
In light of that though, I thought more and wondered maybe it’s not exactly how all of us are to be. I mean some people by nature of their position will get a lot of recognition, like pastors. Others aren’t like builders, but more like Soldiers, i.e. missionaries. I’ve always wanted to be a missionary and get my hands dirty and witness and save people one on one, but it seems as I mature in my walk with Christ, it’s seems he keeps pointing me in some other direction that I can’t see, but it seems like one where I can be more effective and have a greater impact than just leading individuals to the kingdom. Maybe I am to be a house builder?
So anyways, that was a stretch and God really worked my mind over on that one, but this one not so much. This is nice and straightforward and is a great lesson we should take with us and turn into action with our Christian friends. “13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. 14We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” It’s really important to have Christian friends that we can turn to and be encouraged by and encourage. Sometimes, actually all the time, Sin doesn’t seem like such a big deal. You see it everywhere, all your friends do it and all the people around you, and you get accustomed to it and consequently you are “hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Fellowship is our protection against that hardening, and I think it is something extremely neglected in our American Christian community.
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
- Hebrews 4:16
|The language of this chapter is strange and makes the process of understanding the message quite lengthy. But it kind of reminds me of a concept I learned about in college in my literary criticism class, how art intentionally extends the cognitive process so that we will analyze things with a fresh mind instead of using our mental sets and stereotypes to analyze information. It seems this concept is in full use in Hebrews 4.|
So the point is, it took me a while to figure out what was going on with all of this talk in this chapter about “rest” and why it says God said “they will never enter into my rest.” So this is what I think and what I got out of it. The key is this verse that says, “7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today.” Basically, God has set the day for rest to Today. That might be confusing, but if you think about it, it makes our lives a whole lot easier. You see, God has made our religion one of personal interaction with him, so the day we need to take rest is the day He SAYS we need to. It could be Friday, Tuesday, anytime. Between you and God, He will tell you and call you to rest. Here’s where more of the chapter comes in and is important, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.", and “11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.” When God calls you into his presence, when he tells you this is the time to take a rest and enter into me, we need to do it. And not just do it, but make THE effort to make it happen. You may have a busy day, you may have stuff planned already, but you show him your love in obedience to his calling, and you enter into his rest. When we work ourselves to death, when we let our work become our lives, no matter what it is, it will harden us. It will harden us to everything else that is not that work. We get hardened towards our families, toward ourselves, and worst, towards God. Really as I sit here and think about it, I think God is the one thing that doesn’t harden you when you give yourself up to him. Entering into him and making him your life actually softens you to everything else. When we give ourselves up to anything in this world, it puts blinders on us, we can’t see everything else that is going on around us, and it hardens us to the world around. What a good sign that seeking God’s rest softens our hearts! So yea, remember, you have to rest, and God knows when you need it and he will call you to it. It’s your responsibility to make the effort to enter into that rest. Brother Yun’s story in the book “Heavenly Man” is a good example of this concept, how God use to call him into periods of rest all the time. Heck even Jesus, He constantly was called to take times of rest, and you didn’t see him always doing it on the Sabbath, it was when God told him to.
These following two verses are great to add to your prayer arsenal. My mom taught me these a while ago, and I held onto them and could recognize them, but never really held onto them like God wants us too. You see, when I use to read this, I would think to myself, “Jesus has been through all of this, so that makes him better than us and he can carry us through our temptations.” While that is somewhat right, it is a somewhat immature way to look at it. Take a closer look and see if you can understand what God is really telling us, “15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Do you see it? See, these versus don’t say that when you’re tempted, Jesus will take care of it and you can just ask him to see you through. What it’s telling you to do is to come to Jesus for advice, ask him how HE managed to deal with the temptation you’re going through. Since he’s been through all these temptations and came through sinless, he can simply tell you how to handle the situation! And that’s why we approach him with confidence, because we know he can tell us what to do, not that he will magically carry us through it. I think it makes the concept of Jesus helping us with our sins a whole lot less abstract. This is something good for Christians to understand. I think it is also important to understand in regards to the high priest part. Most of Hebrews is an explanation of the difference between pre and post Jesus times, when we had and didn’t have the Holy Spirit to guide us. Priests cannot atone for our Sins or guide us through them, because they have failed just like us. Similarly, they are incapable of perfectly sympathizing with us. But Gods better plan, Jesus, is perfect, for he never failed. He can tell us how he did it.
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.”
- Hebrews 5:12
|So the message I got out of this chapter is one simple word. OBEDIENCE. And boy, did God want to make me learn this lesson hands on. So I was lying in bed after quickly reading this chapter and not writing anything about it, and thinking about what God wanted me to take away from it. Earlier I had decided while reading it that what makes us mature as Christians is obedience. It is the most powerful thing we have and it’s the highest form of love we can show God. I mean, that’s what made Jesus so perfect. He knew he could call down angels to save him, but he was obedient to God so much that he would lay down his life and literally go through hell just to obey our Father. That’s how much he loved God. We are the same. Sometimes, like tonight, being obedient isn’t necessarily a life altering thing. It may have no impact on anyone at all. But it is a way to show God how much you love him, and really, that’s the most important thing we can do as Christians.|
So as I came to this realization, that how we show God our love is solely through obedience to His will, he clearly said to me “so let me show you, like this.” I was like, uh oh what’s coming next?! And then He was like, “get your sleepy head out of this incredibly comfy bed, go turn on the computer that you just turned off and wait for it in the cold room to turn on, and then write about what I’ve taught you.” I was like noooooooo….. NOOOOO!!!! I tried rationalizing it away, telling myself, “oh God just doesn’t want me to forget what I learned, I can do it tomorrow He won’t mind and I won’t forget. He wouldn’t inconvenience me that much.” But nope, sure enough He kept nagging. Getting out of bed was the LAST thing I wanted to do. Waiting for my computer to come on was the second to last thing I wanted to do. But you know, as I realized my rationalizing wasn’t very good, I started to fear. I thought, what if by not getting out of bed, I’ll be showing God that I love myself more than Him, that a comfy bed is more important than just listening and obeying Him? It terrified me. I couldn’t take that risk!
Anyways, that’s my hands on experience of what this chapter aims to teach us. Just obey God. You’ll know when He’s asking you to do something uncomfortable because you’ll try to rationalize it away. When I think about it, I can’t think of a time where God asked me to do something uncomfortable where I didn’t try to rationalize it away. I’ll give you a tip. ANYTIME you feel God may be telling you something and you try to rationalize it away, the opposite of your rationale is what God wants you to do haha. If you get in the habit of doing that opposite thing, it makes obeying God sooooo much easier. So yea, good night God, thanks for keeping me up 10 minutes later to be with you and giving me this opportunity to show you how much I love you!
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”
-1 Timothy 4:1
|Whew, there is a LOT going on in this chapter. I guess it takes some maturity and God’s guidance to get everything out of this chapter. I feel like it could take a very long time. Here is my best go at it. I’m sure this first take will not reach the depths God has cultivated with the words in this chapter, but it will do for now.|
So the first two verses are a good lead in into what I like to title this chapter, maturity. The word specifically tells us that there is more to our relationship with Christ than just repeating the cycle of sin and repentance, and that we need to move beyond this simple cycle. Yes, the greatest gift God gave us was His Son and forgiveness for our sins, but that is just the beginning, the key that opens the door into a house full of God’s belongings. Without that key, yes, everything else that we find waiting for us in the house of God would be impossible to reach, but like the symbol of a key, its size is small relative to the house it unlocks. So God tells us, “1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” God makes it too easy really. Not only does he tell us that repentance is the foundation, the first step, but he tells us what steps to take next into maturity. Baptism, the laying of hands, healing the sick, resurrecting the dead. These are things God tells us to do! RAISE THE DEAD. I mean come on, is this for real! Yes it is, and that is the extent that our relationship with God should go, to where we boldly hold onto the promises He gives us in the word and act accordingly. I feel like Christians in America (including myself) have a real maturity problem. Pretty much every church I’ve been to is trapped in this endless cycle of repentance. Every sermon is a call to forgiveness, of turning away from sin. How is a church expected to grow and impact the world when all it is fed is baby food! That message is the most basic God has to offer! Yes, it is the key to everything, the entrance to the inner sanctuary, but God wants us to revel in the majesty and power that is in that inner tabernacle, not just walk back and forth through the curtain, celebrating the fact that the curtain is no longer an obstacle to us! Think of this image, a little kid finds a big curtain, and that child plays in it, hiding from his parents, going under it back and forth, giggling all the while. That’s exactly what we are like as Christians when we get stuck on the issue of repentance! This message is for non-believers, those that are lost in sin, and for new believers, not for those who have been in Gods family for years. Anyways, enough ranting. Simply stated, unless you’re still wearing diapers, let’s move on and not get hung up on repentance (even though you should still discuss your sins with God everyday).
Verses 4-8 is a scary series of verses. I still don’t know how literal it is, whether it really means that those who have matured then relapse have no chance of being brought back to repentance, or if it is like the rich man and the eye of a needle story. I think that it’s saying that for those who have truly tasted God’s glory and have known His love, for those that fall away, and I mean truly fall away, I think this just means that it is especially difficult for them to come back to God. The language is pretty harsh though and seems to indict those people with an unforgivable sin. Maybe it means that those that truly fall away, who sin endlessly without repenting, who forget how to converse with God, maybe this means that God actually abandons those people. He takes his Holy Spirit away from them. I really have trouble seeing how God will absolutely forsake someone though. This verse really reminds me of a friend’s dad though. From what they told me, their dad use to be so close to God, and he was absolutely the spiritual head of the family. But in the time I knew them, their dad completely turned his back on God and his turn was disastrous to their family. With him it seemed that God for real abandoned him to the point that he took away the man’s conscious and ability to discern good and bad. When speaking with him, it was like his soul was missing, like he was operating on animal instinct. I’ve met other people like this too. For all my questions on these verses, one thing is for certain though, it is bad enough that we are responsible for Jesus’ death once already, but to be responsible for re-crucifying him, for “crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace” (verse 6) is a horrifying idea.
The next two verses kind of made me chuckle when I read them because it reminds me of a discussion I had with two of my best friends, Hien and Dan, back in college. At the time neither of them were Christians (but since have been saved praise the Lord!), but we often had these kinds of discussions. Hien said that America was great because it was predominantly Christian and our religion teaches us to be genuine people who are hard workers and dedicated to progressing the world. I’d say verses 11 and 12 encourage us to be just that, “11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” We are to be constantly progressive in our faith, not being lazy and constantly seeking ways to hasten the arrival of Gods kingdom on earth, spreading His love tirelessly. The way I work out in the gym or the way I work at my job is the way I should seek God and growth in him.
This is yet another one of those verses I call promise scripture, which is meant to encourage us, to give us a weapon and armament in our walk with Christ and battle with satan, “18God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” I like the last sentence, because it really describes what every promise God gives us ought to be, an anchor for our soul, firm and secure.
“Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sinces once for all when he offered himself.”
- Hebrews 7:27
|This was a pretty interesting chapter. Aside from the part of my head spinning with this Melchizedek thing, there are two things I got out of it, the first being that this chapter explains to us how Jesus saved us from our sins and what he is and does. This part is pretty simple really, but the part about the Melchizedek can really get you spinning your wheels if you think too much into it. Maybe another day I’ll really dig into it and completely understand this “priest of the most holy one,” but for now, I am content with gleaning the lesson about who Jesus was. You see here, we’re shown how Jesus was the ultimate, the perfect priest who really could atone for our sins because he didn’t have to atone for his own. It also talks a lot about how he was simply the superior to other important people in the history of Israel, such as Abraham.|
The other has to do with the sequence of the laws of God. Before Jesus we were all under a covenant, a priesthood that atoned for God’s people (the Levites), one that strove to be perfect, but wasn’t, one that had to sacrifice for its own sins as well as the peoples. Vs 11 says, “If perfection could have been attained through the Levite priesthood…” I find that fascinating. You see, God gave his people a chance to strive and try to reach worthiness of Him in their own accord. God let them do this so that we who came after Christ could see that it could not happen, that no matter what we cannot reach righteousness on our own accord, for our ancestors tried that. This chapter is a clear statement that we are saved through faith in Jesus, the ultimate priest, not our actions and deeds.
This chapter also makes it clear how important it is to understand the clear transition between the old law and the new. The Levites were the tribe that brought righteousness upon their people, that made them worthy of God, but it was an imperfect system and broken. Over and over and over again, the Levites had to sacrifice, not just for the people’s sins, but their own. This chapter explains that when a priest comes from another tribe, the law becomes new. Jesus was that priest from another tribe, from Judah, and when he came he brought the new law.
I had never really heard of Hebrews much before I started reading it this time. It’s surprising really. It seems absolutely essential to understand this book in its full meaning if you as a Christian really want to understand what it is that Christ did for us, understand why his act of dying on the cross saved us and changed everything. And I don’t mean just in the here and now, I mean across the massive expanse of history, this really was a dramatic change. If you don’t understand this chapter, then you don’t quite understand what it is Christ did for us yet, so study up!
“For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.”
|Hebrews 8 continues the message of the previous chapters, explaining in depth what this new covenant that God has made with us through Jesus is. First, it explains that the other covenant was broken somehow, that it was not what God wanted, “for if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another” (vs 7). It also explains why this new one is better,|
“10This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."
God your heart is so beautiful. I think these three verses should be the cornerstone of all church beliefs, that no longer do people need the church or others to teach and say, “know the lord” but that we can know him ourselves, because he has put his laws in our minds and on our hearts, and that we are forgiven for our wickedness and our sins are not remembered. How wonderful! This is God’s greatest gift, this new covenant. God screams to us, “I want you to love me and draw close to me! I don’t want you to have to go through a priest. I don’t want you to have to focus on your sins. I don’t want you to have to sacrifice. I just want you!”
You know many times I’ve wondered to myself “why God, did you have to wait so long to give your children your spirit, why wait to put your laws in our minds and write them on our hearts? I mean couldn’t you have done that starting with Adam and Eve?” And I’ve found myself always coming to one answer, an answer that speaks beautifully to God’s understanding of man. You see, God understands the natural world and linear human progression; after all he made it and us. He knew that humans would slowly and surely develop from an oral history and tradition, to a written one, to a mass/immediately produced one. Not only did he know, but he had to account for it. Quite simply, in the days of the Old Testament, our technology made it impossible for God to speak to each of us, to have a personal relationship. Oral history reigned supreme and the few well documented historical manuscripts were accessible only to a select few. Though God certainly spoke to the hearts of man, there was no common piece of literature for the average man to go back and reference and align his life with. Thus the Old Testament, where a high priest served to foster a common understanding, a necessity now filled by the Bible and Holy Spirit. God waited until man had the means to spread the word, through both travel and literature, before he instituted it. I mean back then, the law was one book or scroll, kept by the high priests, studied by them and spoken to the people. With their technology it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to disseminate to everyone, and even so, few could probably even read it. Similarly with travel, the apostles were able to go anywhere in the world. I think it can be argued that before this time period, the economic stability of the world did not afford such ease of travel. Anyways, the whole point of this little discussion is to think a little differently. It’s really easy to take what the bible says and only think of it spiritually, it will always make sense that way. But sometimes when you think of it practically and physically as it is applied to real life, the logic seems to break down, but God will always give you an answer that makes sense if you seek it. Anyways, I feel like that’s what he’s taught me in regards to the changes Hebrews constantly talks about.
Verse 5 is also an interesting verse. Pretty much, it instructs us to follow God’s design. When he tells you to do something, don’t just kinda do it, do it to the letter. When you start to become unsure of what to do next, stop and ask God to tell you. “This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." One thing I’ve learned recently after going through this bible study called Experiencing God, is that God will only work in his kingdom perfectly. When he has something going on in this world, it is executed perfectly, and if we cannot do it to his perfect design, likely he will not ask us to do it. When I say do it perfectly, I don’t say that based off our skills or abilities, but more out of the state of our heart and faith. Are we abandoned enough to God to see his design fulfilled perfectly, you know?
“This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are notable to cleanse the conscience of the people who bring them.”
|Hebrews 9 gives us a very detailed contrast between the old and the new tabernacles, the old being the Arc of the Covenant and the new being Heaven itself where Christ is the High Priest. The new is superior to the old in every way. The parts of the old tabernacle represent the parts of the new one as well as how the Holy Spirit ministers inside of us. The candles represent our inner light that we are to shine unto the world. The bread represents God’s constant provision for us. The veil represents the inaccessibility of the inner tabernacle to God’s people with the old tabernacle, and when Jesus dies and the veil is torn in the temple, it represents that veil being torn down and the tabernacle being opened to everyone as an individual. Reading this chapter opened my eyes to many truths and new understandings. I am sure when you read it you will have many of your own, so I don’t want to go into it too much lest I taint the lessons God will teach you. At the end of this chapter though, similar to the last, I couldn’t help but ask myself again, what was the reason God set up the two tabernacles like this (Arc and Christ)?|
Why didn’t God just skip the whole Old Testament relationship and go with Christ from the beginning? Maybe God knew back then that people weren’t really developed enough to actually sustain a personal walk with Christ. They couldn’t develop personal bibles, they didn’t have the resources, maybe they saw things too literal and couldn’t see into implications and symbolism like we can. You know, now I can pull up a bible anywhere in the world and ask God to teach me his word. I can function completely independent. Maybe this wasn’t the case back then so God had to consolidate responsibility into leaders. Most people can take individual responsibility for their religion now days.
“For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered?”
|I swear Hebrews must be the densest reading in the bible, or maybe second next to revelations. Hebrews 10 is pretty much like any other chapter in this book, jam packed full of God’s truth. It’s going to take a couple careful readings to really understand it. We’ll take this a step at a time. I’ll just pull out verses I think are particularly important and insightful.|
So the first of many is halfway through verse 1 to the end of verse 2, “For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered?” I really like these two verses, because they point out soooo obviously what Christ gives us that nothing else can. You read it and you’re like “yea, if you have to keep doing a sacrifice over and over, obviously it isn’t changing anything.” It just makes too much sense. I mean it’s like the definition of insanity. Clearly, nothing man can do on his own is going to take away the guilt of his sins. But Christ, just one sacrifice, was able to do that. That’s why all sacrifice has been put to an end, because his actually was sufficient enough to conquer our sins. You really can see this too if you look into your life. I’m sure there are points where you tried making up for wrongs by being extra good, or you tried making yourself feel better through your actions or gaining approval, or even gone so far as to punish yourself, and you would have undoubtedly found that it always left you at least a little wanting. I have found that, and I have also found that the blood of Christ has NEVER left me wanting, ever.
When I read vs 13 and 14 a very interesting thought popped into my head, where does satan come in for all of this? I mean, Christ’s salvation for us was obviously the last thing in eternity he wanted to happen. Why did he prefer the old law? Did he somehow have more power then? What was his role? Why did he prefer the old? “13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” I think one difference is that back in the day, people did not have the Holy Spirit, and therefore they were unable to heal, cast out demons, witness, and intercede. I think satan had a lot more freedom to do his will, because the average believer did not have the Holy Spirit to fend him off with. I mean think about it, what did the old Israelis do when attacked by satan? They did not really have the word, they did not have the Holy Spirit to intercede, they did not have victory through Christ. Maybe God protected them, since they were under the care of the high priests and stuff. An interesting question.
I find this series of verses terrifying. “ 26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” I think it very well speaks for itself.
This verse I feel is a call to arms, and speaks loudly to me and my walk as it is right now. I feel like God has been telling me lately that I’m hiding my light, not sharing it with the world, and I think it is because I lack confidence. But listen to what God has to say!
“35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37For in just a very little while,
"He who is coming will come and will not delay.
38But my righteous one[f] will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."[g]
39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”
Reread that part about shrinking back. If he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. Oooooh man that fires me up. It’s pretty much like God being one of my old sports coaches or my dad “quit being a sissy! Go for it you got nothing to lose! Man you’re a baby. This opponent has got nothing on you, be confident!” man. We have GOT to be confident every single day in the peace and the message that we carry so that we can do the will of God. It is essential.
Thank you for reading The Free Bible eBook Series. If you enjoyed this guide, check out the rest of them at www.freebibleebooks.com, share them with a friend, discuss them, and bring life back to Christian conversation. If you disagree with parts of this guide or have questions, let me know! You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to hear from you. In the end, remember one thing: God loves us unconditionally, pay it forward!
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As a disclaimer, please remember I am not a professional or credentialed spiritually in anyway. The Free Bible eBook Series is simply my interpretation of what I believe God has taught me through His precious Word. I am a firm believer that God teaches us and reveals to us differently and tailors to us personally. What I understand and believe may not align perfectly with you, which is ok. If any content in this series is seriously concerning, please let me know. I heed Paul’s warnings and don’t want to slip into blasphemy.