I. Introduction. A. This book, unlike most New Testament epistles, does not identify the writer (1 John, Revelation and the Gospels have a similar introduction). 1. The letter was originally written to Jewish converts to Jesus who were in danger of leaving Christ and his church to go back to their original religious orientation, or to the world. 2. Those originally addressed are not named and this information is implied in the text of the letter. 3. Any disciple of Jesus who is tempted to depart from the faith will benefit from the writing, and every follower of Jesus will gain a greater appreciation for the Son of God by studying this book. B. Hebrews begins almost abruptly with a statement about the Godhead. II. Nature, Glory and Dignity of Christ (1:1 to 10:18). A. Christ superior to prophets and angels (1:1 to 2:18). 1. God formerly spoke to Jewish fathers through the prophets with many ways and means of giving the revelation (1:1). 2. Now he speaks through his Son, Jesus (1:2-3). a. Jesus is heir of all things (1:2; Matt. 28:18). b. Jesus made the worlds and all that is in them (1:2). c. Jesus is the brightness of the Father's glory (1:3). d. Jesus and Jehovah are of the same substance (1:3). e. Jesus upholds all things by the word of his power (1:3). f. Jesus is made purification of sins (1:3). g. Jesus sits at the right hand of Jehovah (1:3). 3. Jesus is better than the angels (1:4-8). a. Jehovah never called an angel his Son (1:5). b. Angels are to worship Jesus (1:6). c. Angels are servants and messengers of God (1:7). d. Jesus is God's Son; his throne is eternal (1:8). 4. Jesus obeyed God's commands and therefore is sinless and exalted (1:9-12). a. Jesus made the universe (1:10). b. The universe will perish, but Jesus continues (1:11-12). c. Jesus does not change and will never fail (1:12). 5. Angels, great in power, are inferior to Jesus (1:13-14). a. Angels were not promised pre-eminence (1:13). b. Angels are ministering spirits serving the saved (1:14). 6. In view of Jesus' triumph and glory, we must listen to him with deliberate attention (2:1-4). a. Danger of drifting away from the words of Jesus (2:1). b. The Old Law was spoken through angels, but every failure to keep its requirements was punished (2:2). c. We cannot escape if we neglect the words of Jesus (2:3). d. Jesus' teaching was confirmed by those who heard him (2:3). e. Jehovah confirmed the message of Jesus by signs, wonders, manifold powers, and gifts of the Holy Spirit (2:4). 7. More evidence that Jesus is above angels (2:5-16). a. Jehovah did not subject the world to angels, but he did subject it to His Son (2:5). Jesus rules the universe. b. God visits unworthy man (2:6). c. God made man and gave him a place above animals but below angels (2:7). d. Also, Jehovah put all things in subjection to Jesus with the exception of death, the last enemy (2:8). e. Jesus took on the form of a man, suffered death, and is crowned with honor and glory (2:9). f. Jesus tasted death for every man (2:9). g. To save sinful man, Jesus had to be made perfect through sufferings (2:10). h. Jesus, in saving sinners, participated in human flesh (2:11). i. Jesus therefore calls the saved brothers (2:11-12). j. Jehovah gave Jesus children (previously Jesus is called a brother but now a father) (1:13; Isa. 9:6). k. Jesus took the power of death away from the devil and delivered us from the fear of death (2:14-15). l. Jesus did not intend to save angels and therefore did not become an angel; he intends to save man and therefore became a man--the seed of Abraham (2:16). 8. The human nature of Jesus gives us the assurance he understands us and can identify with our sorrows, being a merciful and faithful high priest for us (2:17-18). B. The superiority of Jesus over Moses (3:1 to 4:13). 1. Consider our apostle and high priest, even Jesus (3:1-6). a. Jesus like Moses was faithful to Jehovah (3:2). b. Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses because the builder has more glory than the house (3:3). c. Every house has a builder; God built everything (3:4). d. Moses was over God's house as a servant of God (3:5) e. Jesus is a son over God's house, whose family we are (3:6). 2. Wilderness wanderings and results of unbelief (3:7-19). a. Since Jesus is greater than Moses, it is urgent for us to listen to his teaching and obey him (3:7). b. Do not harden you hearts as the Jewish fathers did in the wilderness (3:8-9). c. Jehovah was displeased with their disobedience (3:10). d. Jehovah refused them the promised land (3:11). e. The followers of Jesus are warned against an evil heart of unbelief in falling away from God (3:12). f. Urge one another to be faithful to Jesus (3:13). g. The faithful will be rewarded with Christ (3:14). h. Unfaithful and disobedient Jews were kept out of the promised land of rest (3:15-19). 3. The rest that remains for the people of God (4:1-13). a. Let us fear to come short of eternal rest (4:1). b. We, like the Jews in the wilderness hear good news, but the Jews did not benefit from the promise of reward and rest because they heard but did not believe (4:2). c. Obedient believers will enter the heavenly rest (4:3). d. The Jews in the wilderness failed to enter their promised rest (4:3). e. It follows that others who displease God will not enter in to God's rest (having finished his work of creation and laying the foundations of the world, God rested) (4:3-5). f. Disobedience kept some Jews out of Canaan, but the faithful Jews received the promised land (4:6). g. David spoke of a promised rest 500 years after Joshua led the Jews into the land of Canaan (4:7). h. If Joshua had given to the people the final rest, David would not have spoken of it as yet future (4:8). i. A sabbath day of rest remains for the faithful (4:9). k. The dead in Christ are now enjoying that rest (4:10). 4. Exhortations to strive earnestly to enter that rest (4:11-13). a. Disobedience will keep one out of the heavenly rest (4:11). b. God's word knows the thoughts and intents of the human heart (4:12). b. God sees and knows everything about us (4:13). 5. The priesthood of Jesus (4:14 to 5:10). a. Since Jesus is our high priest, be faithful (4:14). b. Our high priest can be touched by our infirmities (4:15). c. We can boldly approach God because Jesus represents us in the heavenly court and secures for us mercy and grace (4:16). d. Human high priests represent the people to God (5:1). e. Human high priests have infirmities and are gentle in dealing with the ignorant and erring (5:2). f. Human high priests therefore make sacrifices for both themselves and the people (5:3). g. No one has the right to become a high priest unless God approves (5:4). h. Jesus was called and appointed by Jehovah (5:5). i. Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek (5:6). j. Jesus prayed in tears to him who could save him from death and was heard for his godly fear (5:7). k. Jesus learned obedience by his suffering (5:8). l. Jesus saves all that obey him (5:9). m. Jesus is appointed high priest after the order of Melchizedek (5:10). 6. Warnings against apostasy (5:11 to 6:20). a. A stern rebuke for failure to study and grow (5:11-14). b. Advice to go on to perfection in understanding (6:1-3). c. Danger and consequences of falling away (6:4-8). d. The writer expected his readers to live in a way consistent with salvation (6:9). e. God remembers their contributions to the poor (6:10). f. Encouragement to greater zeal (6:11-12). g. To enforce his promise to Abraham God swore by himself, since he could swear by none greater (6:13-14). h. Abraham believed, endured and received the promise (6:15). i. God strengthens his promise of a heavenly rest with an oath (6:16-17). j. We have two immutable things--God's word and God's oath (6:18). k. God cannot lie and therefore we hold firmly to our hope of heaven (6:18). l. Our certain hope anchors our soul and we can be sure of going to heaven if we are faithful (6:19). m. Jesus, a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, entered heaven as our forerunner assuring our entrance into heaven if we are obedient (6:20). 7. More thoughts on the priesthood of Christ (7:1 to 8:5). a. Melchizedek blessed Abraham (7:1). b. Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek (7:2). c. Nothing is known of Melchizedek's birth or death, and his priesthood is perpetual (7:3). d. Therefore, Melchizedek was greater than Abraham (7:4). e. The Levitical priests where in the loins of Abraham when he paid tithes to Melchizedek. The lesser pay tithes to the greater. The Levitical priests symbolically paid tithes to Melchizedek who is therefore greater than the sons of Levi (7:5-10). f. Under the Levitical priesthood there was no complete forgiveness of all sin, therefore there was a need for a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek (7:11). g. A changed priesthood meant a change of the law (7:12). h. Jesus was from the tribe of Judah and not the priestly tribe of Levi (7:13-14). i. Moses said nothing about priests from the tribe of Judah. For Jesus to be a priest, the law had to change (7:14). j. A Melchizedek priesthood appears (7:15). k. The new priesthood is not by flesh but by the power of an endless life (7:16). l. David said Jesus would be a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek (7:17). m. The Law of Moses was annulled because it could not grant the absolute forgiveness of all sin (7:18). n. The Old Law made nothing perfect; we need a better hope to draw near to God (7:19). o. Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek by solemn oath of God (7:20-21). p. Jesus is the assurance of a better covenant (7:22). q. The Levitical high priest had to change because the high priest died (7:23). r. Jesus lives for ever, therefore his high priesthood continues (7:24). s. Jesus offers complete forgiveness because he lives for ever to make intercession for the saved (7:25). t. We need a sinless and exalted high priest (7:26). u. Christ made one offering for sin for ever (7:27-28). v. Christ's ministry, sacrifice and high priesthood is in heaven and therefore superior to any earthly priesthood (8:1-5). 8. The superiority of the new covenant (8:6-13). a. Jesus has a more excellent ministry, being the mediator of a better covenant with better promises (8:6). b. If the first covenant had been able to grant complete forgiveness of all sin, there would have been no need for a new covenant (8:7). c. God found fault with the people, not the covenant (8:8). d. God made a new covenant with all the people of earth (8:8). e. The new covenant is unlike the old covenant (8:9). f. The laws of the new covenant would be in the minds and hearts of the people (8:10-11). g. The laws of the new covenant would bring total forgiveness of iniquities and sin (8:12). h. A new covenant makes the first old and vanishing (8:13). 9. The superiority of Christ's ministry and sacrifice (9:1 to 10:18). a. Arrangement and furniture of the first tabernacle (9:1-5). b. Symbolic services of the Jewish tabernacle (9:6-10). c. The perfect services of Christ (9:11-14). d. The work of Jesus is heavenly and not earthly (9:11). e. Not through the blood of animals, but by divine blood, Jesus obtained eternal redemption for man (9:12). f. The blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer bring incomplete, ceremonial cleansing (9:13). g. How much more shall the blood of God cleanse you from dead works (9:14). h. Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant (9:15). i. Jesus died to forgive the transgressions of those who were under the first covenant and all the saved may have an eternal inheritance (9:15). j. A last will and testament requires a death (9:16). k. A will becomes effective when the testator dies (9:17). l. The first covenant was dedicated with blood (9:18). m. Moses sprinkled the book and the people with blood (9:19-20). n. The tabernacle and its furniture were sprinkled with blood (9:21). o. There is no forgiveness without shedding of blood (9:22). p. The covenant of Christ required better blood (9:24). q. Christ made one sacrifice for ever (9:25-26). r. Men die once and then comes the judgment (9:27). s. Christ died once and shall appear a second time apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation (9:28). t. The inadequacies of the Levitical offerings demonstrated by their repetition (10:1-4). u. The sufficiency of the offering of Christ demonstrated is a once for all sacrifice (10:5-14). v. When sins are remitted and not atoned, there is no need for continuous sacrifices (10:15-18). 10. A plea for faithfulness in worship and service (10:19-25). a. We have an adequate sacrifice and a heavenly high priest over the house of God (10:19-21). b. Let us come close to God because we are made pure in the blood of Jesus (10:22). c. Let us hold to an unwavering faith (10:23). d. Let us provoke each other to love and good works (10:24). e. Be faithful in attending the worship services of the church (10:25). 11. A warning against apostasy (10:26-31). a. Since we have one sacrifice for sins for ever, departure from Christ leaves us without remedy (10:26). b. Apart from Christ we are left with the expectation of judgment and fire (10:27). c. Violators of Moses law were put to death (10:28). d. Those who spurn the sacrifice of Jesus will receive more severe punishment (10:29). e. God will punish unforgiven sinners (10:30-31). 12. Remember previous suffering and steadfastness (10:32-34). a. After your salvation, you were persecuted (10:32-33). b. You pitied other disciples who were tortured and accepted your affliction because you looked forward to a better world (10:34). 13. Be faithful (10:35-39). 14. The nature of faith demonstrated by examples from history (11:1-40). a. Faith is based on fact and evidence and is therefore assurance and conviction (11:1-3). b. The faithful in ages past, from Abel to Samuel and the prophets, all testify that faith made alive by obedience and service never disappoints (11:4-32). c. Faith produces works of obedience as demonstrated by the heroes of faith in ages past--Abel offered (11:4); Enoch walked with God (11:4; Gen. 5:22-24); Noah prepared an ark (11:7); Abraham obeyed (11:8); Sarah conceived (11:11); Abraham offered (11:17); Isaac blessed (11:20); Jacob worshipped and blessed (11:21); Joseph made mention (11:22); Moses parents hid him (11:23); Moses refused to be Pharoah's grandson (11:24); Moses forsook Egypt (11:25); Moses kept the first passover (11:28); Moses and the people passed through the Red Sea (11:29); The walls of Jericho fell after they were compassed about seven days (11:30); Rahab received the spies (11:31); Other examples are Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah; of David and Samuel and the prophets (11:32). d. These great men and women of faith suffered because of their fidelity to God (11:33-40). 15. A final, solemn appeal to persist (12:1 to 13:19). a. We have the example of noble people of faith in ages past who witness to us by the testimony of history that no one was ever disappointed who believed and obeyed God (12:1). b. We have the example of Jesus that enduring shame and suffering in the name of God brings joy and rest (12:2-3). c. You have not resisted unto blood (12:4). d. If you would live godly you will suffer (12:5-8). e. Earthly fathers corrected us and we still respected them, is it not more important to be loyal to the heavenly father and live for ever? (12:9-10). f. No correction seems pleasant while it is being given but later we see its benefits (12:11). g. Do not be discouraged but press on (12:12-13). h. Live at peace with all men by treating everyone right (12:14). i. Look at your feet and do not stumble (12:15). k. Do not sell out for temporary pleasure and make the mistake of Esau (12:16-17). l. Earthly things can be shaken, even as Mount Sinai quaked when the old law was given, but heavenly things remain and cannot be shaken (12:18-28). m. Things that are shaken (Mount Sinai and the Old Law will be removed) and unshaken things (Christ and his covenant) remain (12:27). n. The eternal kingdom of Christ cannot be shaken, therefore let us offer service that pleases God; for our God is a consuming fire (12:28-29). 16. Fidelity in personal duties (13:1-7). a. Love the brethren (13:1). b. Show hospitality to strangers (13:2). c. Remember those who are in jail because of their service to Jesus (13:3). d. Marriage is honorable and there is to be no fornication (13:4). e. Do not love money--God will take care of you (13:5-6). f. Remember those who rule over you and teach you the word of God--imitate their faith (13:7). 17. Be stable in doctrine and practice (13:8-16). a. Jesus is ever the same (13:8). b. Therefore, do not be misled by strange teaching; be established by the practice of pure religion and not by carnal considerations and Jewish ordinances (13:9). c. Christians have an altar that Jews still living under the rules of Moses cannot access (13:10). d. Jewish sacrifices were made outside the camp (13:11) e. Jesus also was sacrificed outside the city (13:12). f. Therefore we go outside the camp (outside of Moses) bearing the reproach of Christ (13:13). g. Our true home is not in this world but in a world to come (13:14). h. Let us be faithful in serving and worshipping God (13:15). i. Take care of the needy and it will please God (13:16). 18. Duties to overseers (13:17-19). a. Obey the elders and do not disappoint them (13:17). b. Pray for us (13:18). III. Conclusion (13:20-25). A. Prayer on behalf of the Hebrews (13:20-21). B. Closing remarks (13:22-25).
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