Hebrews has been a book of much discussion to say the least. Men have argued over the centuries about it author and who it was written to.
The normal internal marks of Paul's authorship are missing, yet I believe Paul wrote it. As far as the date, again, no evidences as to when it was written. There are some things which give us a general idea. First, it was written while the temple was still standing because the author is pointing to the temple service and telling how much better Christ is, (70 A.D.).
It was probably written before the Jewish civil war and commotion started in Jerusalem in 66 A.D. There is no mention of disorder or even persecution as some of the other books refer to.
There had been some put to death already for Christ in Acts, but as far as the terrible persecution which started in 64 A.D. under Nero, there is no reference to them.
There is no mention of imprisonment by the author. So if it was Paul he was set free around 63 A.D.
Then lastly, it was probably written from Italy (13:24) as Paul salutes them for the saints in Italy.
It was probably written in the Greek language, from Italy in the year 63 A.D. The purpose of the letter is to counter the ones who tried to bring the converts under the Jewish laws of the sacrifices and offerings. Paul contrasts the two systems and shows the folly of following the old system. In fact, he hits hard almost all areas of Jewish tradition to prevent it from being absorbed by the new Christianity.
He shows that everything in the law of Moses regarding the old system of worship pointed to Christ and is done away with in Him.
He emphasizes the BETTER of Christ, thereby the folly and emptiness, vanity of the old of the law, the Jewish system of worship through the sacrifices.
Who was it written to? Another topic of discussion over the centuries, but one thing is for sure, it is written to us. It was written to anyone and everyone who stood even the slightest chance of being influenced by the old Jewish traditions. There is no internal evidence of it being written to anyone group of people. Only what it was written to counter. Therefore, unlike some other of the letters, it does not have to be viewed in the context of a particular situation and group of people. Such as maybe Corinthians.
Hebrew is probably one of the most discussed books of the NT. The only thing we can say absolutely for sure about it is that it is inspired by God and is for us today.
The only conclusive evidence we have that it was written to the Hebrew race is the subject matter. It is not addressed to a particular church or person, but the subject matter deals with a problem which would be among those loyal to the old Hebrew rituals of worshiping the Father. We do know of the problem which was among the new converts of the Judahizers tried to convince the new converts of the necessity of obeying the old manner of Hebrew rituals and traditions.
Also, there is no conclusive evidence of who wrote it. From earliest times it is attributed to Paul, but if it was, this is the only letter he wrote where he does not identify himself. I have no problem with it being written by Paul. His imprint is all through it. The theme of his other letters is emphasized as well as the OT prophecies, here in this one book. Here in Hebrews we have the sum total of all the teaching of Christ, both from the OT and NT.
It was written before the destruction of the temple because Paul points to the continuing temple service and points out the "better" of Christ's sacrifice, priesthood and meditation. The indication is also that it was written before the civil wars and commotions in Judea which started in 66. Also, it seems to be written before the terrible and bloody persecutions of Nero which began in Rome around 64. He also points out that these converts were not new converts (5:12). They ought to be qualified to teach others, therefore, they had been saved for some time. Everything points to its date as being around 63 A.D.
It was in all likelihood, written in the Greek language. If it hadn't been, then it would have had to be translated before the early church would have been able to read it, thereby, loosing its effectiveness. Greek was the common language and this book does not appear to have been intended to be restricted to one group of people only.
This book was written to prevent the early church from being drawn into the Jewish religion. Everything was there to draw them into the religion. The sacrifice which pointed to Christ. The rites and rituals. The undisputed law which Moses gave. Their strong belief in God. The pomp and ceremonies which pointed to everything they believed in. On the other hand, there was Christianity. No pomp and ceremonies. A system of worship based in faith rather than rituals. Its rites were few and simple. Baptism and the Lord's supper. No beautiful garments worn by a holy line of Priests. Rather simple fishermen were the ministers.
Everything was here for the natural man to be attracted into these rites and rituals. The inclination would be to combine the two and Paul here in Hebrews tells the utter folly of such a desire by showing how much better Christ is than anything this old Jewish religion might offer even though everything they did was in accordance with Scripture admonition of the inspired word of God to Moses and Abraham.
Everything which was being used in the temple were types, pictures of what the Christians now had, Christ. It would be ridiculous for them to try to combine the two. In fact, as Paul so well points out, you cannot combine the two. In fact, as Paul so well points out, you cannot combine the two. The book completes the Scriptures. It totally makes the break between the old system of worshipping God (under the OT) and establishes the new system (NT), in Christ. This book explains passages such as Col. 2:13-14; Gal. 3:19-29; Rom. 6:14 and many others. As we said, this book is the "cap stone" of the OT and NT Scriptures. Showing how Christ is the total of every Scripture. Everything points to Him.
As you will notice, Hebrews does not do away with ANYTHING of the law of Moses except the sacrifices, the mediation laws which is what Gal. 3:19-24 clearly says. The greatest danger the new church faced in Palestine was going back into the Jewish religion. This book was to prevent that then of course, 70 AD destroyed it all anyway. Setting the new church on its own.
As we look at this book we need to keep its purpose in mind. It was written to prevent the early church from going into Judaism. It was to prevent them from absorbing the rites and rituals as well as customs of the Jewish religion. Now, look how Paul does this.
V. 1. He points out that it was God who spoke to the fathers in the past. He spoke to Abraham (and others) personally He spoke to still others by his angels, his ministering spirits. Remember the mind-wet which he is speaking to.
1. Matt. 3:9, "We have Abraham to our father." Jn. 8:39, "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father---". See also Jn. 8:53.
We have Abraham as our father. Who do you think you are trying to tell us anything? If you will check this confrontation which our Lord had with these Jews, you will find that they accused him of not even knowing who his father was, therefore an illegitimate birth. Jn. 8:41, and they knew Abraham was their father. They could trace their lineage.
2. Jn. 5:45, "--even Moses, in whom ye trust." Jn. 9:28-29, "Then they reviled him, and said, thou art this disciple; but we are Moses's disciple. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.
"We know that God spoke by Moses. We obey him. We obey every last point which Moses gave us."
Now, the early church, of course, would believe this. They would believe that God spoke to Abraham and Moses because they believed the Scriptures. The danger, therefore, was of being "sucked into" the traditions and ordinances which had been passed down from Moses and Abraham, (circumcision and the sacrificial rites).
I can just hear the pressure which these Judaizers would put on the young church. "God spoke to Abraham, and commanded circumcision, therefore, you must obey this rite to be saved," or, "to prove your love."
"God spoke to Moses, therefore you must take part in the offerings and sacrifices in order to be saved." (Or, "if you truly love God.")
The early church, with no NT to rely on, would be hard pressed to answer this.
"Are you saying that what you have is better than what God himself gave to Abraham and to Moses?" This would be a tough question for someone without the NT to answer. Especially if you lived in Palestine where the Jewish temple was still operating and in face of tremendous pressure to take part in the services and rites--.
"You say you believe in and serve the living God, then why aren't you doing it like God commanded through Abraham and Moses?" Could you answer this without the NT they? They had to.
The pressure would be tremendous to enter into or return to the old rites and rituals, particularly if you had been raised in them or even as a new Gentile convert wanting to please God.
God spoke to the fathers in many ways. Visions, dreams, angels and He himself, and Paul here, sweeps them all up into one pile with just a few words. God spoke in many times past to our fathers and to the prophets. He spoke in many different ways. "And he gave them many truths which we must take heed to. But not everything is for us today."
Those he wrote to here would have known this and this should have grabbed their attention. He started here on a common ground and now goes to where he wants them to be.
V. 2. He moves them from the former days to the last days. "These last days." These last days started with Christ. He was the change in dispensations. Really you only have two dispensations. You have the world before Christ, when the approach to God was through the alter and sacrifice (Adam, Cain, Abel, and etc.), then you have after Christ, when the approach to the Father is through the sacrifice which he made. Everything from HIM on is, "the last days." Therefore, all OT prophecies which refer to the last days must be referring to this period of time referred to her. (From his first coming to his second coming.)
His Son--- All the rest from the past were only messengers. They were men and/or angels. They were created beings but the one he has sent to speak to mankind now is His Son. The messenger for the last days is God himself in the form of the Son, not dreams, visions, angels. These have ceased. Those who claim any of these, (dreams, visions, angels, any kind of supernatural revelation), are liars according to this. God's word is the final revelation for today.
God may give insight into his word, more to one than to another, but there is no inspiration apart from it in these last days.
The theme of Hebrews is better, and here is the first reference to it. Paul's thought here would be, "You hold Abraham and Moses in such high regard and rightly so because God spoke to them, but here is His Son speaking now. We must get our eyes off of the past and on to the present. His Son is speaking, hear ye him, Matt. 17:5." "This is God's Son delivering this message. We must listen to him."
"Heirs--" This one he has spoken to us by is the heir of all things. He owns it all. Paul here is presenting his argument of why his readers should accept the doctrine of Christ over the traditions and rituals which were still going on at the temple. He is trying to extract those caught in them as well as to prevent others from going into them and his argument here is based on the superiority of Christ and his message over ANYTHING which Moses or Abraham had.
Paul give six arguments here in 2 and 3, with two more in v. 4, of why he is super. (1.) Christ is the Son of God. (2.) Christ is the heir of all things. He is the legitimate owner which would be immediately identified by those he is writing to here as a fulfillment of Ps. 2:8 (see Rom. 8:17). Christ owned all things before he became flesh by virtue of his being the creator, which the author here will get around to in a little bit. I think this is more of a reference to a result of his work on the cross, although He did make it quite clear that all things was His, even before his death, Jn. 16:15, etc.
"hath appointed heir--" Not "will be heir" but is right now. Here is a clear reference to the position of Christ right now. Acts 2:36; Ps. 110:1, is the reference here and this is quoted by almost every NT author. Matt. 22:44; Mk. 12:36; Lk. 20:42; I Cor. 15:25; Heb. 1:13. We are not there yet and well go much more in depth with it when we do. Here Paul is pointing out that the one who has spoken to us in these last days is already heir. He has it all now. He ascended upon high and it is all given to Him now by the Father, all power has already been given unto him, Matt. 28:18.
(1.) He is the Son of God and as the Son,
(2.) He is the heir to all things NOW.
(3.) He is the creator. God the Father made all things by Christ. Jn. 1:1 again is quite clear on this. Rev. 4:11 is a very good passage here. (Col. 1:16; Eph. 3:9, etc.).
(4.) He is the "brightness of the glory" of the Father. He is the light of the father. He is the light of the world (I Cor. 4:4; Jn. 1:6-14). This phrase is meant to show us his dignity. All of the brightness and splendor which is in the heavenly Father is found in Christ Jesus.
(a.) This word brightness is applied to the sun, I Cor. 15:40,
(b.) To the light Paul saw, Acts 22:11.
(c.) II Cor. 3:7, to the shining of Moses' face.
(d.) Rev. 18:1, the light which surrounds the angels.
(e.) Lk. 9:31, 32, the light around the glorified saints.
(f.) II Thess. 1:9; II Pet. 1:17; Rev. 15:8; 21:11, 23 and the light which covers God.
Here the author applies all of this glorious splendor to Jesus. The fullness of the glorious Godhead dwells in him. He is that by which we can know God. He is the glory and perfection of the Father veiled in human flesh. By him alone can men know the Father, Matt. 11:27; Col. 1:19.
(5.) The express image of the person of the father. Col. 1:15. We get our word "character" from this word translated image here. "God is a spirit," our Lord told the woman at the well (Jn. 4:24). No man can see a spirit therefore it is impossible to see Him. Christ had/has the image (engraved as with an engraving tool), stamped on him. He had the exact character of God. He was an exact duplicate of what God would be if he were a person. The reference here then is not of a physical appearance but their character was exactly the same. Every action, thought, attitude was according to the character of the Father. Christ HAD NO thought, or action of his own. IT was always in accordance to the Father's will. Everything he said or did was for God's glory, not for his own. If God could take on flesh and dwell among men, He would have the character which Christ had. He would act and think like Christ did, Matt. 1:23; Isa. 9:6. We are required to do the same. Jn. 4:34; 5:30; 6:38, 39. As we do the same, we also will be known as the sons of God, II Cor. 6:18-Ph. 2:15.
Man did not see the physical features of God. He has none. Man saw the character of God in Christ. He responded always in character with God's character, Jn. 1:14, 18, 5:19-23, here we see that because Christ reflected the character of God in perfect obedience, that to honour him is to honour the Father, Jn. 5:30. In Jn. 5, Christ compares himself to Moses. This is what Heb. 1 is doing also. The author of Hebrews presents nothing new, only explains more fully what Christ told us while he was here. The total person (substance), of the Father is in Christ, his Son. He walks, talks and sleeps like man but he thinks, acts and speaks like God. Our every action also reflects our heavenly Father or the Father of lies.
(6.) Paul continues on with his argument, "upholding all things--"
V. 3. Just a word created all things. Just a word holds it all together, Ps. 33:9. This is beyond our comprehension. He spoke and it all came into being. He spoke and the power of his word continues on as it holds it all together. His word alone prevents it all from flying apart or collapsing together in a heap.
"by himself---" Paul points out the six things above then notice here. "This man who is the sum total of everything God is, is the one who purged our sins. Not the blood of bulls and goats as is being offered over there at the temple but the blood of God incarnate in the flesh, I Pet. 1:18-19. He offered himself up as the perfect sacrifice. What he did those animals could never do."
When he finished this work of redemption he sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. The place of all power. The place of total and final authority over EVERYTHING which he created, and everything is the result of his creation.
When Paul says this he is referring to Ps. 110:1 and Ps. 45. The passage is quoted by our Lord in Matt. 22:44; Mk. 12:36; Lk. 20:42. Paul quotes it of our Lord in I Cor. 15:25 and Heb. 1:13, where we will look at it in depth. He also refers to this and explains it in Eph. 1:21 and many other passages.
Keep in mind. This is written with the temple rites in view. He is showing that Christ did what those rites only showed a picture of. He himself purged our sins. The rites of the temple never could and now since His sacrifice, those rites are not only useless but are an abomination to God. In fact, the continuation of those rites showed the rejection of HIS work on the cross and brought God's heavy hand of judgment.
V. 4. Evidently angels were held in high regard by the "religious" Jews, the Pharisees, Acts 23:9. IF they would consider Christ at all, they might regard him as just a messenger from God as were the angels. But here Paul says that really, the angels can't even compare to Christ. In fact, the angels are subject to him (I Pet. 3:22), as he sits on the right hand of power. Of course, he has ready pointed out that Christ created even the angels.
Here is the reference to His inheritance. The inheritance of a more excellent name. The name of the Son of God. Being the Son, He is heir to all that God the Father is and has, Jn. 5:18. (V. 2, heir to all things). Matt. 5:45, how much of the father's character do we reveal? Which fathers character do we reveal, God's or the prince of the power of the air in rebellion to the Father---. I love passages like v. 5, these make the Bible fit together as one book.
V. 5. He continues on with his argument. Here, the author refers to the OT. In fact, you will find the book of Hebrews is one big OT argument for Christ. It is one OT reference after another held together by a few comments which show how the OT points to Christ. It is written to Hebrew Christians. Those who know the OT. Those who were being influenced to return back to the OT rites and ceremonies which pointed to Christ.
The book of Hebrews cannot be understood without the OT references and a understanding of those references. No more than any other NT book can. It is impossible to fit it together into a proper doctrine without the OT. To try to do so will lead to error and a misunderstanding of who Christ is, what he did, and his present position and work.
Now Paul quotes Ps. 2:7, to prove that Christ is more than another messenger from God the Father to man. These Hebrews would regard David highly so he brings one quote after another from psalms to their attention. He says here, "If Christ is not the SON of Ps. 2:7, then who is? It sure isn't the angels. He sure didn't begat the angels. He created them. There is only one who came from God the Father through a physical birth and the Messiah, King, Lord, Saviour, had to come through birth as a SON. Jesus alone fits into this."
Read our Lord's confrontation with the Jews in John. Passages such as Jn. 8:18 on. This is only one of the many confrontation. There is no reason to believe that just because Christ rose from the dead and ascended back to heaven that this argument would cease, that he was not the Son. I believe these Jews were still trying to convince the Hebrew Christians that Christ was no better than an angel if he was that much. Probably restricted him to a "good man."
Of course we have the teaching today. Christ and Satan were both created beings. Both equal in power and authority. Satan misused his, rebelled and fell therefore he is the picture of all that is bad. Christ remained obedient to the death therefore he became the redeemer for anyone who will trust him as Saviour. Paul "blasts" this teaching right out of the water here in Hebrew. "Who else has the Father called Son?" No one, of course.
These passages in Hebrews are some of the strongest anywhere as Paul quotes the OT as proof of the divinity of Christ. Christ is God and there is no way around it here.
He quotes Ps. 89:26 as he continues on. Christ was not just a good man, or just a messenger from God. He was God's Son. David spoke of Him over and over. This actually is II Sam. 7:14.
He is writing to those trained in the Jewish religion and
who accepted the divine authority of the OT. Paul is using what
is already accepted by those he is arguing with to prove this
point. It was already accepted by those he is writing to that
those passages referred to the Messiah. Paul is proving that these
refer to Christ. (See below>>>>)
Here is a problem we have today. The OT has been dismissed as maybe a good history book, but as far as it being a book of doctrine, many ignore it. By doing this we loose our primary source of doctrine even concerning end time events. The OT gives us our description of our Lord and his work which again the NT must fit into. NOTHING can stand alone in the NT. Paul here does not try to make this stand alone either. Nor does he in any other of his letters. NO NT author does.
It is very difficult to teach (argue if you please), sound doctrine without the OT. In fact, it is IMPOSSIBLE. Sound doctrine comes from the OT according to Paul's instruction to the early church pastors, II Tim. 2:15; 3:16. The OT doctrine combined with our Lord's instructions is the proper instruction for the people of God, I Tim. 3:6.
Paul here bases Christ's claim to his title "the Son of God", upon the OT doctrine. When anyone tries to form a doctrine apart from the foundation of the OT prophets, then we can rest assure that it will be a false doctrine. Christ, the apostles and the prophets, these all teach the same doctrine. Non of them will stand alone (Eph. 2:20). Every word and action by our Lord was in complete accordance with the OT. His past, present and future work is and will be according the OT. Nothing ever has nor ever will go contrary to what has been laid down 2,500 years ago, when the last book was written. Judgment will be based on the principles established back there so we had best know what is there and what is expected of us.
There will be nothing of God which will go contrary to what was already established. God's grace was established there as was the requirement of walking by faith. The sum total of the Christian life "the just shall live by faith," was firmly established long before Paul said it. Hab. 2:4-II Cor. 5:7, etc. The doctrine of belief, faith, counted for righteousness, was one of the very first principles laid down in God's word, again LONG before Paul wrote it down. Gen. 15:6- Rom. 4:3-6; 20-25; Gal. 3:6., etc. Probably 2,000 years before Paul was even born, or thought of, God chose him before the worlds foundations to carry this message to the Gentiles.
Our sound doctrine will be found the same place where Paul found his. In fact, the same place where our Lord found his. It will be found in the OT Scriptures and explained by the NT teachers, our Lord included. Even his ministry was grounded in the OT. Can ours be any less if we are going to follow his example? He came not "doing his own thing" but in perfect conformity to what was already established.
Today's "NT Christianity" which has departed from the OT doctrines is quickly leading us to destruction. Any return to God must be based in a return to the OT law-word of God. Paul here in Hebrews though makes quite clear that this return is not a return to the sacrifices, ordinances and rites of the OT. This can never be. To return to these would be a mockery of what Christ did on the cross.
Here we see then that much of today's "revival" or "return to the word of God" is not a return to Biblical Christianity. From what I see of the "great principles of God as given to us in the OT. Anything apart from doctrine based upon the foundation of the prophets is doomed to failure. Because it is not of God, Eph. 2:20. The call to the child of God is to be holy even as God is holy. Any kind of a movement apart from this is not the Holy Spirit, I Pet. 1:15.
A good example of this is the AIDS epidemic. Any response by Christians which goes contrary to quarantine as given in Lev. 13, 14 is not Biblical Christianity. Any kind of cover up of that plague is not Biblical Christianity. Any kind of church response, other than those requirements of Lev. 13, is not Biblical, nor is it NT Christianity. It is MODERNISM and LIBERALISM.
Any return to God must involve a return to his established principles which were laid out long before Christ came as the Son of God.
I believe you will find that the life changing therefore society influencing and changing power of the gospel was the result of basing that gospel in the OT. Read Acts chp. 2. Anything less will leave a very shallow Christianity if it is Christianity at all.
Back to 1:5, my son-- Here is something interesting, the Son of God. When did this take place? Did he become the Son only when Mary conceived? Was he the Son before the foundations of the world? Of course, this doctrine of his sonship placed him on equal footing with the Father, Jn. 5:17, 18. I have looked at some arguments on this, but I think it can best be said this way.
There was the trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit before
the worlds began, from eternity past. Therefore Christ was the
Son from eternity past. The worlds were formed and all creation
put in them for HIS glory and his glory alone, Rev. 4:11. The
office of son was created for man. Man was created in the image
of God not God in the image of man. Man was given the natural
process of having children, sons and daughters, to reflect the
office which Christ already had as the eternal Son of God
when Adam was created. Mankind through natural process created by God, was given sons to reflect the relationship the Son already had.
I believe the book of John will bear this out as Christ presents his relationship with the Father which existed before the worlds began. In fact, Heb. 1:5, He was the Son before the angels were created, is the indication here. Ps. 2:7 identified Christ as the Son long before he was born as a son.
Begotten thee-- I don't think this really applies to a period of time, but identifies a relationship between the one Paul is presenting here and God the Father, He seems to be saying here, "You who are trained up in the Hebrew religion, you who hold angels so highly, which of the angels has God the Father called his Son? Which of the angels are a Son in the manner which we think of father-son relationships, where the sons (children) are the flesh and blood and personality of their fathers?
The answer would have to be none. Although angels are called sons of God in the since of being his creation. Adam was called a son of God by being created by God, and we also are called sons of God by being a new adoption, creation, but as for being a son in the since of a father-child relationship, Christ is unique. There are none others who can make this claim.
1:5 "And again" This is a direct quote of II Sam. 7:14. Paul, in dealing with the Hebrew mind here is and will use and apply these OT Scriptures over and over. Look at his quote here, II Sam. 7:12-17. (All of Ps. 89 seems to fit in here also, it is called the covenant psalm.) II Sam. 7:12-17 is the messianic covenant as given to David. This is the promise of Christ. C. H. Spurgeon as well as Matthew Henry and Barnes, all identify this is the covenant of the church. Paul, here in Hebrews 1:5 does the same. II Sam. 7:13, the house for my name, is the church. (I Cor. 3:17; Heb. 3:2-6; 10:21; I Pet. 2:5), note: nothing I give you is new with me nor is it anything that hasn't been given in past church history.
Paul covers such a huge amount of territory in this statement that we will hand this out to you. We want you to take it, check the Scriptures for yourself at your leisure. We could spend several services on this and you take a bookful of notes and still miss what he is saying here.
Paul here is speaking to the Hebrew mind who knew exactly what prophecies and their context he was referring to. Sad to say, not able to readily identify what he is saying. To really grasp the full significance of his statements here we must view these prophecies he is quoting here from the same view as the Hebrew mind was doing which he was writing to.
We will refer you to Peter's first sermon to the new church, which was 100% Jewish in Acts 2. He there uses the same prophecies which Paul uses here. Again, both are addressed to the Hebrew mind, therefore the message of both Peter and Paul her are basically the same. Both are the same message which Christ preached when he walked here on this earth. The message He preached created tremendous resistance among the Jews. Peter's message produced conviction and Paul's message here was to prevent the early church (64 A.D. or so), from adopting the Jewish traditions.
The Jews of Christ's day hated it and here they were trying to infiltrating the early church with their traditional teachings concerning the Messiah. Christ would not tolerate their traditional teachings and they killed Him. Peter was used to bringing conviction on a nation and 3,000 people were saved with this message. Here the church is in danger from these Jewish traditions, and Paul is once again giving this to keep these unholy, ungodly traditions out of the church.
These traditional views of the OT prophecies had Christ, Peter and now Paul, all three of them dead set against them. The church has warred against them since Christ. It sure looks like the church of our day has lost the war.
Look up Peter's sermon, look up these prophecies, check the context and follow them through. Diligently search the Scriptures and 15 mind. a day will not even began to uncover the truth. Remember, Paul, Peter and Christ were all speaking to people who were trained from their youth up in the OT Scriptures which these men quote, Matt. 19:20. In fact, many could quote the entire five books of Moses. So they knew immediately what these men meant when they quote these prophecies. We do not know because we are not that familiar with the OT, therefore it will take very diligent research on our part to be able to put these prophecies in their proper context as the Hebrew mind could do because of their rigorous training in the OT law and prophets.
To find how the Hebrew mind was thinking on this when these men spoke will require the same diligence as was exhibited in Acts 17:11, as well as the wisdom of Ja. 1:5.
We do not have to look far at all to find these Jewish traditions and fables. As we read things like, "Justin's Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew," we can readily see how influential the Jewish traditions have been in infiltrating into every area of Bible doctrine. It would indeed be wise for us to heed Paul's warnings to Timothy in his first and second letter to him.
Notice Paul also dealt with Jewish fables in Gal. because the new Christians were being swept into the "another gospel," as he dealt with them with the truth, many parted from him. They wanted their traditions and fables more than the truth, Gal. 4:16.
There in chp. 4, people are being swept from the truth into something which looks like the truth but is not. As he tried to extract them and call them back to the truth they "fell out" with him. If Paul had this problem, how much more can we expect to? Again, the theme of Gal. is about the same as Hebrews.
Is there hope for US? Lord, make us receptive to the truth. Help us to avoid fables. Extract us from the ones we might be in.
Because we do not know these Scriptures as Paul, Peter and Christ did and as their hearers did, we are very likely to get a completely wrong understanding of them or, worst yet, by passing them completely. Ignore them, thereby missing the message which they have.
In fact, my past tendency here is just to read these or quotes from the OT and say to myself, "My, how interesting that these spoke of Christ," and leave it at that. To do this will miss the proper message which the Holy Spirit was trying to convey. There is so much more here than, "My, how interesting."
Paul is wasting no words as he uses these OT prophecies, applying them to Christ to prove he is the promised Son, as well as Messiah. With these he is showing that all of the rites, rituals and ordinances are pointing to Christ.
V. 6. First begotten is a reference to Rev. 1:5; Col. 1:18. Paul here identifies Christ as the first begotten which he also did in Col. 1:18. Which isn't really an OT quote. The next passage is Ps. 97:7.
All of that Psalm is a reference to Christ and again Paul using these texts as proof texts that Christ is so much better. Here even the angels worship him. The prophecy of the angels worshipping the Messiah.
V. 7 who maketh-- Paul has shown that this Christ he is presenting is actually the Creator, v. 2. Here he quotes Ps. 104:4. Ps. 104 is a creation Psalm in this he shows that Christ as the creator, not only has the angels worshipping him, v. 6, but he created them as his ministers.
Vv. 8-9. This is probably the strongest of all the prophecies which Paul quotes. This one goes as contrary to the Hebrew traditional teaching of Ps. 45:6, 7 as any passage in Scripture. It caused contention then and it causes contention today. Paul places this passage in operation starting 2,000 years ago when Christ ascended up to the right hand of the majesty on high, v. 3.
This is God the Father speaking and He is speaking to God the Son. Of course, this would include Isa. 9:6. This would also include Heb. 1:13.
Notice here what Paul is saying:
1. All prophecies concerning the Son of David, the Messiah are referring to Christ, the creator and sustainer of all things.
2. He was born as a Son of man, yet he was God in fulfillment of all Scriptures. He came into the world this way in order to be able to purge our sins, Heb. 10:5, as our sin offering.
3. When he completed what he came to do, purge our sins, he ascended up on high and sat down at the right hand of power.
a. Remember, the Jewish tradition, fables and teachings of a Messiah who would come in power and subdue all his enemies with the sword. He didn't therefore they rejected them.
b. Christ cam to subdue his enemies by a work of the Holy Spirit, called GRACE, Matt. 28:19-20.
4. Paul here and elsewhere points out that Christ is now on his throne, v. 8, ruling from there over his kingdom with his scepter of righteousness.
5. V. 13 fits in this order of events as Paul points out another prophecy. Christ is, will sit on this right hand of power (v. 3), how long? "Until I make thine enemies thy footstool, I Cor. 15:25.
a. This v. 13 is Ps. 110:1 and it is quoted an amazing number of times. We already mentioned them but here they are again.
1. Matt. 22:44, Christ confronted the religious leaders with this. This is repeated by Mark (12:36), and Luke (20:42). This is quite amazing as we look at the context of Christ's quote. 1. Christ had ridden into Jerusalem, presenting himself as their King and Messiah. 2. Christ exercised his authority over the Jews as he cleansed the temple. 3. He left the city, spent the night at Bethany. As he returned the next morning he cursed the fig tree, 21:18-22. He found leaves on it but no fruit. This was a picture of the Jewish nation. Leaves but no fruit. A form of godliness but no fruit. 4. 21:18-22, he came to the temple where he confronted the leaders again. They asked him "Who gave you the authority to do these things?" 5. 21:28-41, now, our Lord confronts them with a couple parables. These parables speaking of the rejection of the Son by the Jewish leaders (therefore the nation), and the destruction of the nation because of that rejection. 21:43, clearly says that the kingdom of God will be taken from them and given to the church.
I Pet. 2:9 calls this new nation, a holy nation. 6. 21:45, 46, the religious leaders knew He was talking of them and sought to lay hands upon him. 7. Christ continues on with his sermon here, again re-enforcing that they (the Jews), are rejecting the Son of God. They are rejecting the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 22:2). They are actually rejecting the King and the coming judgment for that rejection. 8. The desire is to take him and kill him (22:15, 16), so they sought out their best man with words to try to tangle him with his words. a. 22:17, they sought to get him to speak against the government so they could get the government on his case. They failed. b. 22:23-24, they sought to tangle him in the Scriptures so the people would turn against him. Again, they failed. c. 22:34-40, then the two enemies, Pharisees and Sadducees, joined together to tangle him, failing again. 9. As they sought regroup their forces for one more efforts to tangle him, he confronts them with this prophecy which ended the confrontation from that day on, vv. 41-46.
Christ came in offering himself as their King. He exercised his right as their King as he cleansed the temple. (Notice, he cleansed the temple, not Caesar's palace. Here is where the cleansing must take place, Ezek. 9:6; I Pet. 4:17. He came condemning the hypocrisy of their religion not the wickedness in high places. The call here is for God's people to get right with God, not for Herod or Caesar to get right with God. Judgment came because God's people refused to return to glorifying God as God, refused to render to the landowner the fruit of his vineyard, not because Herod took his brothers wife or because Caesar had a harem of young boys.) Does the Holy Spirit need a "clean up" campaign in your temple?
Matt. 22:44, Christ takes this prophecy and says, "This is a reference to me. How can you account for that and still reject my claim as the King of Israel, the King of God's people, the King of His nation?" Christ says this in the "third person" with, "What think ye of Christ, whose son is he?" Rather than, "What do you think of me, whose son am I?"
They said, "The Son of David," and as soon as they did this, He nailed them with Ps. 110:1. In doing this, our Lord put it into action right then. Remember, this confrontation started with his riding into the nation (Jerusalem), on the ass, presenting himself as their King. He ends the confrontation with these leaders with, "I am the King you are expecting. I am this Son of David and the Lord (God the Father), will sit me on his right hand of power until everything is subjected to me." You had best subject yourselves now to this Son of David." Which they refused to do.
Peter, in the first sermon uses this very prophecy (Acts 2:32-35), and it brought conviction. Paul does the same in I Cor. 15:24-28. This was the major basic doctrine of this new religion, the new church. The Jews rejected their king because he did not come as they expected. Christ, Peter and Paul, all identify Christ as the King over God's people and right now seated at the place of power and authority and ruling with his scepter of righteousness.
Heb. 1:9, He is anointed King now. In fact, we see from the verses Paul applies here to Christ, that Christ was anointed as King over all of his baptism. Paul uses Isa. 61:1 (calling Isa. 61 into fulfillment in Christ), as his proof text. We can recognize this passage in Isa. because our Lord used it for himself. He read this in the temple (Lk. 4:18019), and said, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears, v. 21." We can find the record of this anointing in Jn. 1:32.
Acts 3:15, Christ was anointed as King, over God's nation. He then presented himself as their King, starting here in Lk. 4. They rejected their King and crucified him, but it did not change the fact that he was/is anointed King by God the Father. He then (now) ascended to the right hand of the majesty on high where he will rule until all of his enemies are subjected to him. When will this subjection take place?
Heb. 1:10, Paul does it again. He adds a word "and" and quotes another OT prophecy. This one being Ps. 102:25. This Psalm is unmistakingly a reference to Christ. Look at v. 20. Here again is Isa. 61:1, 2.
Paul points out that the Lord Christ formed it all (1:2) and it will all grow old as a garment. One day, he will fold it all up. It will all pass away, as Peter says, with a fervent heat, but he will not. He was here before it all started and He will be here foreverafter. It all will change but he will not. It will all fail but he will not.
Our hope is in the one who faileth not. Our hope is as we please him, he will protect and provide for us.
We have talked about this already, only here, Paul asks these people who regard the angels so highly. "Which of the angels did he prophecy this of." Of course, even they would have to say, "none."
This could very easily be a reference to Peter's first sermon, but remember, these were people who knew the OT prophecies. These were also people who knew what Christ claimed in the temple when he confronted the Pharisees and publicans. These also would have heard Peter's message and saw the power of God move. All points to these Hebrew Christians being at Jerusalem.
Paul's statement here seems to me, to be more of a reminder to them than a new truth. Look at v. 14.
V. 14. He ask a question. He is reminding them that the angels are only ministering spirits, 1:7. I believe here we easily have the doctrine of guardian angels. Notice who they guard. The heirs of salvation.
I am inclined here to believe they protect these heirs even before they are saved. I know they did me twice from sure death.
1. Totaled a V.W.
2. Electrical accident on a construction site.
I believe also here we have this protection from anything and everything that might seek to harm us apart from God's perfect will. I believe Job abundantly shows this. Even the person who is not what he should be for the Lord will have only those things happen to him which will draw him closer if he will allow them to. Heb. 12 makes this clear as do many other passages.
No matter what comes into our lives, I believe we can look at it and say, "How can this bring glory to him?" "Is he trying to teach me something with this? What is in this for me to learn?"
We have these ministering spirits watching over us just as sure as Daniel did in the lions den.
Paul here is pointing out that Christ is much better than them. Christ is on His throne directing these spirits. We know that Christ provided the salvation for us. These angels "minister" to those of us who have this salvation. WE HAVE CHRIST which the rites, ceremonies and rituals only pointed to and could never provide our salvation.
This chapter is one OT passage after another held together by a few words. Reminds me of concrete. There you have small and large stones held together by cement. Here we have the large OT passages held together by the cement of Paul's statements. In doing this he lays a hard, firm OT foundation for Christ which he now builds on. He takes this basic foundation and adds to it, expands on it and builds a tremendous house upon it.
We cannot emphasize to much the absolute importance of knowing, searching and studying diligently the OT and especially these references which these NT authors use over and over. Only by this diligent searching can we get a true picture of the NT doctrine.
We will see here in Hebrews, that the only different between the OT and the NT is the means of sealing the covenant or testament. The old was by the blood of bulls and goats. The rites, rituals and ordinances. The new is by the blood of Christ, God's Son. Here alone is the difference. Except, of course, under His blood, we have the power of grace to keep the covenant which was only prophecies in the OT, I Pet. 1:10, as well as the free access into his presence. Praise the Lord for this grace.