Well I have learned so much working though the book of Hebrews in more depth, and yet I feel I have only scratched the surface. There is so much more that could be explored.
I was interested to see how much of the Old Testament was quoted throughout the book. The people who were the intended recipients of the letter were essentially Jewish Christians so they would have been very familiar with these scriptures. These were reminders to continue in their faith and not be like their ancestors wandering off following other Gods, failing to trust God or whinging about how good life was back in Egypt when things got tough or going back to their old rituals
The we saw a comparison of the Tent of the covenant with Heaven, showing how Moses was instructed to build the Tent (the format in which the Temple was later built too) but that it was only a model of the heavenly tent with the Holy of Holies. It was not perfect and could only be symbolic and teach them the law and to be obedient to God. We then saw how Jesus’ sacrifice was perfect and complete. Many times the words “once and for all” were used in relation to this, that it was not just for the Jews but for the Gentiles too. It then demonstrates completeness in that Jesus sat down at God’s right hand, his work finished, he had achieved what was needed to destroy the power of sin and death. The Aaronic priests had to keep going back again and again, because the blood of animals could never fully atone for us in the way that the blood of Jesus does. The curtain hid God’s glory and the priest were unable to see for the smoke from the holy fire and incense. The tearing of the curtain in the temple when Jesus died demonstrates that he has opened up the way for all to go in.
We are given 5 distinct warnings throughout this letter
- Pay attention (Chapter 2 v 1-4) – to the law and to the message of Christs salvation. If disregard for the law and the message brought by the angels and prophets brought punishment and death, then disregard of Christ’s message and work is sure to bring even greater penalty.
- Don’t be stubborn (Chapter 3 v 4 to 4 v 13) – some translations refer to this as “hardening your hearts”, unbelief and turning away from God. We are to continue believing with faith, trust and obedience until the end when we receive our promised reward.
- Don’t abandon the faith (Chapter 6 v 4-8) – this carries the strongest warning that there may not be a way back. Having tasted of God’s goodness and salvation, to then rejected it like the Israelites did in the desert risks failing to receive the promised entry into God’s kingdom.
- Don’t keep on sinning (Chapter 10 26 v 31) – we actually did not look at this much as we were focusing on pressing forward to the goal set before us. Of course we will all keep sinning until the day Christ returns but this refers to intentionally carrying on with life choices that displease God. We are to fearfully anticipate the coming judgement, not taking lightly the Grace which has been extended to us.
- Be careful and listen to God’s Word (Chapter 12 v 25 – 29) – heed the warnings so that we shall be able to stand firm when the earth around us is shaken
There is so much left to investigate and study, hopefully we will be able to return to Hebrews at a later date.
Here are the links to all the notes so far