Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebews
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 1
Jesus is Divine.
I. (1-3) God's revelation is consummated in the Person and work of the Son.
A. (1-2a) God speaks to men through agents under both covenants.
1. (1) Under the First dispensation, God spoke to the forefathers in various ways through the prophets.
2. (2a) Under the last dispensation, He speaks to men through His Son.
B. (2b-3) The Deity of the Son is portrayed in relation the redemption of man.
1. (2b) He has the right to inherit all things, as God has appointed Him.
2. (2b) He is the Creator.
3. (3) He is the effulgence of God's glory.
4. (3) He is the exact image of God's essence.
5. (3) He sustains all things by the word of His power.
6. (3) He purifies the sins of men by His own blood.
7. (3) He is exalted as the Lord of lords and the King of kings.
II. (4-14) Christ is superior to the angels.
A. (4-5) He has obtained a better name by inheritance than the angels.
1. (4) By His accomplishment of the redemption of mankind, being both Deity and humanity, He is exalted far above the ranking of angels.
2. (5) By nature and essence, He is the Son of God.
a. He has God's approval of superiority to any other being.
b. He has the unique relationship with God.
B. (6-7) The Son of God is to be worshiped by angels.
1. (6) God decrees the angels to worship the Son.
2. (7) God decrees the angels to be servants.
C. (8-9) The Son is the King of the universe forever.
1. (8) He shall reign with righteousness forever.
2. (9) God has anointed and exalted Him to be the Ruler because of His
D. (10-14) He is from everlasting to everlasting.
1. (10) He was in the beginning, and created all creatures.
2. (11-12) He lives forever and remains immutable, whereas all creature is
subject to change.
3. (13-14) God will subdue all enemies under His authority and reign until
the end of time.
a. (13) Regarding mankind's salvation, God has honored Him to be in the highest position, that God will subdue all His enemies under His authority.
b. (14) Angels are servants of men's redemption.
Exegetical Commentary of Hebrews 1
This epistle was addressed to the Jewish Christians by its author, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They were on the edge of apostasy from Christianity because of persecutions of the Jews and Romans (10:26-39). Hoping to avoid persecutions, they were about to return to Judaism. It was under such circumstance, the author wrote them, and warned them about the folly of returning to Judaism. On the other hand, he encouraged them to remain faithful to God in the Christian system which was the final and perfect religion. Jesus was the perfect High-Priest and the Mediator of the New Covenant. If they departed from Christ, there would not be any "sin-offering", nor another high-priest for them (10:18, 26).
Having this purpose in mind, the author penned this epistle to expound the superiority of Christianity. The Author of the Christianity was God Who revealed His will to men through the ages. Under the first dispensation, God spoke to the forefathers by the prophets in various ways and proportionally. For instance, He revealed His will to Daniel by dreams and vision, to Moses by word and signs, and to others by the written scriptures (Dan.9:2). Yet it was not a perfect one, for the prophets themselves did not even fully understand their prophetic message regarding God's redemption through the Messiah (1 Pt.1:12-13). However, God spoke to men through His Son in the last age, the Christian Dispensation. His revelation to mankind was completed and consummated in the work and Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ perfectly interpreted the Father to men, and made the His attributes known to men, for He was with the Father from eternity (John 1:17; 14:9). He was the reflection of God's glory, and was stamped with His essence.
Regarding to men's redeption, Jesus was the legal heir of all God's spiritual promises. He obtained the inheritance by His great redemptive accomplishment, Who left the glory of Heaven, and came to die for the sin of mankind. Also, He had the right to inherit the promise for God's people, for He was Creator and Sustainer of all creatures. He is the life and light, all living are depended on Him (John 1:3-4). After purging God's people from sin, and perfecting them before Him, Jesus was exalted as the Lord of lords and the King of kings. Evidently, He obtained the Divine approval of God by His redemptive work.
The author of Hebrews then continued his second argument of the superiority of the Son. Though angels were mighty beings in power and knowledge, yet there was no comparison between them and the Son. First, He is exalted far above the ranking of angels by His accomplishment of God's will for men's redemption. Second, He has the essence of Deity, and the unique relationship with God. This fact is testified by the O.T. prophecies (Ps.2:7; 2 Sam.7:14). Third, He is the object of worship, and angels are commanded to worship the Son. The Bible teaches that only God can be worshiped (Rev.22:8-9). Angels are created beings of God, and are servants commissioned to execute God's will. Fourth, He is the King of the universe forever. The rule of His kingdom is righteousness and justice (Ps.89:14), and yet He is also merciful and compassionate. He is by no means a tyrant, for He wins the submission of mankind by His selfless love, perfect living, and noble sacrifice. He will, however, punish the impenitent and disobedient when He comes to judge all men (2 Thess.1:6-9). Fifth, He is the same "Yesterday, Today, and Forever", the immutable One. All things are subject to change. For instance, the universe will be eventually dissolved by fire (2 Pt.3:10). The Son remains unchanged. He is from everlasting to everlasting. Lastly, the Son is honored by God with the highest position. God has enthroned Him to be the King, and will subdue all enemies under the His authority and reign. Such honor is never given to the angels, for they are messengers of the Son, and are sent to minister for mankind regarding the redemptive plan of God.
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 1
The doctrine of Revelation is discussed in this chapter. God is the Author of both testaments. In the First Covenant, God spoke to men through His prophets. They were spokesmen of Him, and were commissioned to reveal His will to men, whether it be future event, or law, or religious observance, or word of encouragement, or judgement on sin. It was done through various means, e.g. by dream (Dan.2:28), by vision (Isa.6:2ff), by manifestation (Exo.3:2ff), by written word (Dan.9:2), etc. Although the authorship of the First was of a Divine origin, it was not given as a whole. Through a time span of 1,000 years, God spoke proportionally and gradually concerning His purpose to save men through the Messiah, e.g. The first prophecy of victory over sin was given to Adam in Gen.3:15, that the Seed of the woman, the virgin born Savior, would bruise the head of Satan. Such word would not be fully comprehended by Adam and Eve. As Peter indicated that the O.T. prophets did not understand the Christian Dispensation, neither the suffering of Christ (1 Pet.1:12-13).
In the Final Dispensation, God's revelation was completed and consummated in the works and person of Christ. It is the Final and Perfect one (Jude 3; Rev.22:18-19). God's redemptive purpose has been accomplished by Christ through His death, and been known to men through the apostolic preaching. Only Christ could fully interpret the Father, and manifest God's attributes by living on the earth among men, because He was God in the flesh (John 1:14) and with God from eternity (John 1:17).
The Person of Christ is expounded in great details in this chapter. First, He is God's perfect Revealer, the great Prophet of God. Second, He is the appointed Heir of God, and inherits all spiritual promises God has made to men. Third, He is both the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Fourth, He is the Great High-Priest Who ministers in Heaven and purifies sinners through His own blood. Fifth, He is the King crowned with honor and majesty, because He has been obedient to God in accomplishing His redemptive plan. Sixth, He has an unique relationship with the Father. He is the "Only Begotten" of the Father with His approval of delight and of love (Mt.17:5; Heb.1:5). Seventh, He is the object of worship. Only Deity can receive such a high honor (Rev.22:8-9). Eighth, He is righteous, and reigns in righteousness over the universe forever. He will reward the righteous according to His kindness and mercy, yet will punish the wicked and disobedient for their sin. Finally, He is the same "Yesterday, Today, and Forever", the immutable One. He remains unchanged.
The doctrine of angels is dealt briefly here and is used to show forth the greatness of Christ. They are created beings, and are commanded to worship the Son. They also serve to work for Christ in the redemption of men. They were agents in communicating God's word in the First Dispensation (Heb.2:2).
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 2
Jesus is the Captain of the Great Salvation.
I. (1-4) The warning of neglecting the New Revelation is given.
A. (1) An admonition is given to the recipients to pay attention to the revealed word.
B. (2) They that sinned in the Old Dispensation were punished severely.
C. (3a) Judgement is inevitable to those who neglect the revealed truth of the Great
D. (3b-4) God testifies the revelation with miraculous deeds.
II. (5-18) God's will for men's destiny is fulfilled by the Person and works of Jesus.
A. (5-9) God's promise of sovereignty to men was fulfilled in Jesus.
1. (5) God did not give angels this privilege of dominion over His creatures.
2. (6-8a) God's promise of sovereignty to man was testified by the Psalmist.
a. (6) God's interest in man is seen.
b. (7-8a) God's intention to crown man over His creatures is seen.
3. (8b) The promise has not yet consummated.
4. (9) The promise has fulfilled by Jesus' death for all men.
B. (10-13) It is God's will to adopt men to be His children through Christ.
1. (10) It was fitting for God to ordain Jesus to be the Pioneer of man's
salvation through the way of sufferings.
2. (11-13) The adoption is accomplished through the work of the Messiah.
a. (11) Christ, the Sanctifier, is not ashamed to called the sanctified
children as His brothers.
b. (12-13) The close relation between Christ and His brothers is
testified by the O.T. prophecies.
C. (14-18) The rationale of Christ's incarnation is given.
1. (14) He might overcome death, and destroy the power of the devil through
2. (15) He might deliver men from fear of death.
3. (16-18) He might be the High-Priest for them.
a. (16-17a) He did not take the form of angels, but the form of man.
b. (17b) For the purpose that, He might make atonement for their sins.
c. (18) Having been tempted, He might support them who are tempted.
Exegetical Commentary of Hebrews 2
From verses one to four, the author warned the recipients not to neglect the Great Salvation. He reminded them the severity of punishment under the First Covenant whose violators were punished instantly by Divine judgement. Since the New Covenant was given by the Son of God, Who had much greater authority than the agents of the First Covenant. They therefore ought to pay more attention in order to avoid a greater condemnation. Moreover, the New Covenant was also testified to be God's last will by miraculous deeds and wonders.
After giving the recipients the warning of neglecting the Great Salvation, the author used the goodness of God as the second appeal to urge them to remain faithful unto Him. From verse 5 to 8, he quoted a prophesy of David recorded in the 8th psalm, which referred to God's interest toward mankind. It was God's pleasure and purpose to let man to have dominion over His creation. Though He first gave this authority to Adam, however, it was not fulfilled until the Son of God had accomplished the scheme of redemption (Philp.2:6-11). Since mankind still suffer corruption and mortality, this promise of sovereignty is evidently not yet consummated. Only when Jesus Christ comes again and destroys death, the promise will then be fulfilled completely (1 Cor.15:26-28). Of course, God has a purpose in allowing mankind to suffer physically before He will create the New Heaven and the New earth (Rom.8:17-39). That is, He determines to build up their spiritual character and maturity through the trials of faith (1 Pet.1:6-9).
From verses 9 to 18, the author explained the rationales of the incarnation unto the readers, hoping that they would not depart from the system of Christianity. During this time, many Jews rejected the idea of a crucified Messiah (1 Cor.1:23), but according to God's decree Jesus the Man was the only source of Divine blessings. First of all, Jesus opened the door of salvation for the human race by His death in obedience to God's will (Heb.2:9-10). It was just for God to execute justice upon those who had violated His law (Rom.6:23), but He extended His mercy toward them in delaying the due punishment, and provided a "sin offering" to cover their offenses (Rom.3:25). This atoning sacrifice was Jesus Who came into the world to become the Lamb of God and bore the sins of the world (John 1:29). He then became the Captain of those who obeyed Him, and led them into the New Covenant of God. Secondly, God was able to adopt men to be His beloved children through the Man Jesus (Heb.2:11-13). He purified men through His blood and through His teaching (Eph.1:7; John 17:17, 19). Man's cleansing of sins is given by his obedience to the Gospel (Eph.1:7; Acts 22:16). The Hebrew author mentioned that Christ and the obedient believers were of one family under the fatherhood of God. Since they were of the same mind in submission to God's will (Philp.2:6-8; John 17:17-21). Thirdly, the Man Jesus overcame death and Satan for men by being partaker of humanity (Heb.2:14-16). Death came or was introduced into the world through the sin of Adam (Gen.3:1-6; Rom.5:12). Since then, men were subjected to death (Heb.9:27). Also that, when they committed sin, they were enslaved to Satan (John.8:34, 44). When Christ died on the cross and resurrected from the dead, the power of death and of Satan was defeated (1 Cor.15:55-57). The hope of immortality was fully revealed and consummated by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In conclusion, Jesus, by way of sufferings and of death, was both qualified and officiated to be the Great High-Priest in Heaven (Heb.2:17-18), for He sympathized their pain and weaknesses in life. Also that, He was able to help them in time of temptation, Who was sinless and perfect. It was necessary for God to send the Man Jesus, and to officiate Him to be the High-Priest, in order for men to enjoy spiritual communion with Him. Therefore, if it were not Jesus being a Man, men would not be able to enjoy any spiritual blessing.
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 2
In verses 1 to 4, the author warned his readers concerning the danger of drifting away from the truth. There are at least five lessons taught by the inspired writer. (1) Christians can depart from the truth and faith if they choose to. If they could not fall away from the truth, why would the warning be given? Indeed, every book of the Bible teaches it (1 Cor.9:27; John 8:31-32; 2 Pet.2:20-22). (2) Since it is very easy for a Christian to drift away from the truth. Therefore, one needs to constantly pay attention to God's teaching, and to be a hearer and doer of the law of liberty (James 1:22-25). (3) The punishment for those who disobey the truth will be terrible and severe. (4) The salvation is the great salvation because the Lord of glory gave His blood to purchase it. (5) The purpose of N.T. miracles was to confirm the truth. God gave supernatural testimony in order to confirm the revealed word was from Him.
From verses 5 to 18, the author explained the rationale of the incarnation. (1) The dominion of man over God's creature was consummated by the perfect Man Jesus Who lived in full submission unto God. (2) It was by God's grace that He sent Jesus to die for the world, and made Him to be the Captain of salvation for the obedient believers. (3) God was able to adopt mankind to be His beloved children through the sanctifying work of Jesus. It was done by His death to cleanse their sins (Eph.1:3; Acts 22:16), and by His word to sanctify them unto God's continual favor (John 17:17, 19). (4) Christ released man from the power of death and of Satan by His redeeming death (1 Cor.15:55-57). (5) He, by His sufferings, and death, and sinlessness, became the Great High-Priest for God's people. Therefore, Divine blessings were made possible by the incarnation of the Word of God. Jesus serves for man as (a) the sin offering, (b) the Captain of salvation, (c) the Sanctifier, (d) the Brother to adoption, (e) the Revealer of God's word, (f) the Victor over death and over Satan, and (g) the Great High-Priest Who can sympathize them.
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 3
Jesus is the Prophet Whom one must obey (Acts 3:22-23).
I. (1-6) Jesus, the Mediator of the New Dispensation, is superior to the office of Moses.
A. (1) Jesus' Mediatorship is stated.
B. (2) Jesus' faithfulness in His ministry is stated.
C. (3-4) Jesus' person is more honorable than Moses.
1. (3) Moses is a part of the house.
2. (4) Jesus is the Creator of the house.
D. (5-6) Jesus is the Son over Moses the servant.
1. (5) Moses was appointed a servant for God's ministry.
2. (6) Jesus is the heir of God's inheritance.
E. (1, 6) Exhortations are given to Christians.
1. (1) Their identity is reminded.
2. (1) Consider Jesus and His office.
3. (6) Hold fast the hope of the Gospel.
II. (7-19) A warning of unbelief is given.
A. (7-11) The wilderness rebellion is recounted.
1. (7-8) An admonition is given.
a. (7) Listen to His voice.
b. (8) Harden not your heart in unbelief.
2. (9-11) An example of hardening is recounted.
a. (9) The act of unbelief is illustrated in the wilderness wandering.
b. (10-11) The consequence of unbelief is expounded.
(1) (10) God was grieved by their disobedience.
(2) (10) They were ignorant of His ways.
(3) (11) God was wroth.
(4) They were expelled from God's rest.
B. (12-14) Exhortations are given.
1. (12) Take heed.
2. (13) Exhort one another daily.
3. (14) Hold fast the Gospel unto the end.
C. (15-19) The consequence of unbelief is emphasized.
1. (15-16) Unbelief causes provocation.
2. (17) Unbelief causes God to be grieved.
3. (18-19) Unbelief causes people to be expelled from His rest.
Exegetical Commentary of Hebrews 3
Again, the purpose of the author is evidently seen in this chapter, that is, to urge the Hebrew Christians to continue in the New Dispensation of Jesus Christ. After expounding the dignity of Jesus as the Divine Son of God in chapter one, and illustrating in chapter two the fact that His humanity secured the redemption of human race, the author then in this chapter proved to his readers that Jesus was superior to Moses, the law-giver of the Old Dispensation. Having proved Jesus' superiority, he admonished them to remain faithful unto the end, and not to depart from the Son of God. At the end of the chapter, he recounted the wilderness rebellion, and warned them about the consequence of unbelief.
From verses 1 to 6, the superiority of Jesus is illustrated. First, the author reminded them of their identity as "holy brethren" and "partakers of the heavenly calling". It was when they obeyed the Gospel, they became the holy people of God and applicants of eternal life. Indeed, their standing before God was dependant upon the works of Jesus Who served as the Apostle and Highpriest for them. Therefore, the author appealed them to consider Him and His office. Second, he drew a comparison between Moses and Jesus so to illustrate the greatness of the Son of God. Moses was highly regarded by the Jewish believers as their law-giver and mediator for God. By no means did the author undermine his greatness and work, for he acknowledged him to be "faithful in all his house". However, he showed them that Jesus was much greater than Moses. Moses was a created being and was subjected under God's economy, but Jesus was God Himself and Creator of the First economy given on mount Sinai. Also that, Moses was a servant of the first covenant which was only a shadow of the New and Final Testament (Heb.10:1), but Jesus was the heir of God's inheritance. He owned the church of God and served a better and superior ministry. Having illustrated Jesus' greatness and superiority over Moses, the author urged his readers to remain faithful unto God, and to be steadfast in their Christian profession, as Jesus was faithful in His appointment of God.
The author then quoted Ps.95:7-9 relating the wilderness rebellion of the Israelites, in order to admonish his readers not to rebel against God by rejecting Jesus. In the historical event recorded in Number 14 and Deut.1, the Israelites did not listen to Moses' instruction, nor obeyed him, Who was their mediator and law-giver. Their sins were punished by God's judgement. Though a great multitude of people were delivered from the Egyptian bondage, yet the majority was dead in the wilderness and only Caleb and Joshua were able to enter into the promised land Canaan. The point which the author made was that if they rejected Jesus and His testament, they would surely be punished more severely.
From verses 12-19, the author made five more exhortations to the readers to remain steadfastly in the New Dispensation. (1) They should not harden their heart to God's revealed and determined counsel. If they rejected Jesus, they would be cut off from God's blessing and presence. (2) They ought to encourage one another to live a Christian life daily. Since sin was deceitful, and there were hardships to be encountered in this life (2 Tim.3:12). (3) They should hold fast the New Testament of Jesus Christ, seeing the promise was conditioned upon their faithfulness. (4) They should be mindful of the consequence of unbelief and disobedience, for God would punish those who rejected His Son, and His attribute in punishing sin was clearly observed in the wilderness wandering. (5) The Israelites were expelled from the promised land because they did not believe the message of Moses. It would be the same fate for the Jewish Christians if they refused to obey Jesus.
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 3
Verse 1 to 6. (1) Jesus is described as the Apostle and Highpriest of Christians. As their Apostle, He came to the world to reveal God's word to men (Heb.1:1-2), and served as His Ambassador (John 14:9). As their Highpriest, He makes intercession to God for their behalf. Without His office, there would be no hope of salvation for mankind (John 14:6). (2) Jesus was faithful in God's appointed office. (3) He has more honor than Moses, since He was the Creator of all things and of the Jewish Dispensation, whereas Moses was a created man and was subjected under His authority. Also that, Moses was a servant in God's house, but Christ was the Heir of God's church, Who received His inheritance by right. (4) Christians are called to consider the greatness of Jesus' person and work. (5) The hope of eternal salvation for Christians is conditioned upon their faithfulness and steadfastness in the New Testament truth.
Verse 7. (1) The Holy Spirit speaks to men through the Scriptures. (2) The call of the Gospel is present but not tomorrow. God demands men to obey His will today.
Verses 8-11. (1) Men have the freedom of choice to harden their heart against God's word. (2) God is longsuffering toward men, for He forbore the Israelites forty years in the wilderness wandering. (3) The consequences of hardening one's heart are (a) provoking God to anger, (b) tempting Him, (c) Grieving Him, (d) causing ignorance of His will, (e) causing himself to be expelled from His blessings.
Verses 12. (1) Christian can depart from God if he chooses to. (2) Christian must take heed the danger of unbelief, that is, failing to put His word into practice.
Verse 13. (1) Sin is deceitful. (2) The influence of sin can cause one to harden his heart against the truth. (3) A remedy for sin is given, that is, Christian ought to exhort one another with the truth constantly. This will help them to set their mind on things above.
Verse 14. Salvation is conditional upon one's steadfastness to the truth.
Verse 15-19. (1) It a Christian sins, he will provoke God to anger, and will be punished by Him. He will expel such one from His eternal Kingdom. (2) Acts of disobedience are described as unbelief, for they are done through the attitude of unbelief to God's word.
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 4
Jesus provides the rest of God.
I. (1-11) The rest of God is the hope of believers.
A. (1-3a) A warning of shortcoming is given.
1. (1) Christian should fear of falling short of His rest.
2. (2) God's people were rejected because of disobedient to the glad-
3. (3a) Obedient faith is the condition to His rest.
B. (3b-9) The nature of God's rest is described.
1. (3b-6) It is not the rest of God from His work of creation.
a. (3b-4) God's rest from creation was accomplished in the beginning.
b. (5-6) Another rest of God was looked for at the time of Moses.
2. (7-8) It is not the entering into Canaan.
a. (7) An invitation to God's rest was given in the time of David.
b. (8) This proves the entering into Canaan is not the rest spoken of
3. (9) It is the eternal joy for God's people in every age.
C. (10-11) Two examples are given for admonition.
1. (10) Jesus, the Captain of salvation, has entered into His rest.
2. (11) Christians ought to follow Jesus' example to aim for that eternal rest of God.
3. (11) Christians must avoid the example of apostasy and disobedience of the
II. (12-13) The scrutiny of God is penetrating.
A. (12) The word of God is active and penetrating.
B. (13) God knows all the secrets of men.
C. (13) Every man must give an account to God.
III. (14-16) The sympathy of Jesus is the confidence of believers.
A. (14) He is the Highpriest in Heaven.
B. (15) He is sympathetic to men's weaknesses.
C. (16) He is the source of men's confidence before God.
Exegetical Commentary of Hebrews 4
This chapter should be studied under the light of the prior context. In the last part of chapter three, the historical event of the wilderness wandering is related, where many Israelites were not able to enter into the promised land through their unbelief. The author used this sad event to remind the readers that they must strive to abide in the present truth, lest they would follow the same fate of the apostate people of God. Then, he used the promise of God's rest to encourage them to continue walking in the New Dispensation. Having explained the nature of God's rest, he used two motivations to admonish them unto faithfulness. They are the scrutiny of God and the sympathy of Jesus.
From verses 1 to 11, the main object spoken by the author is the rest of God. He first urged them to fear the danger of falling short of His promise of rest. The warning was affirmed by the example of the wilderness provocation. The sons of Israel had the same privilege as the Christians had, for the glad-tiding was preached to both groups, though they were under different covenants. Man under every period of time has to submit and to obey God's revealed will, in order to enter into God's rest. So, obedience to God's truth is the ground of acceptance into His promise. Secondly, the author explained the nature of this rest to the readers, designing to encourage them to remain in the Faith. He argued that it was not the rest of God from creation, which was accomplished in the beginning. Also that, at the time of Moses, another rest was promised to the Israelites, which many fell short of it. Nor was it the entering into the promised land, Canaan. If this promise of rest was fulfilled in Joshua' time, David would not have prophetically spoken an invitation of God's rest to the Israelites in his time, some four hundred years later. Therefore, the promise of His rest is referred to the eternal joy of Heaven. Lastly, he used two examples, one good and one bad, to exhort them to abide in the system of Christianity. Jesus was the good example for them, Who entered into His rest after finishing His mission. The wilderness wandering was the bad example for them as admonition. They would share the same fate of their forefathers if they departed from the Christianity.
From verses 12-13, the author gave another admonition to the readers that the word of God was the scrutiny for them. If they obeyed the message of Jesus, it would be the guide for them to Heaven and the source of strength for them. But if they hardened their heart in unbelief, it would serve as the instrument of verdict for their crime. Besides, the omniscience of God should also cause them to be faithful, for every man would stand before Him into judgement, and even the secret things would be revealed. Since, God's scrutiny is so penetrating, every Christian ought to serve Him with all his heart, might, and soul.
From verses 14-16, the author pointed the readers again to Jesus as the source of comfort. God's people are not exempted from sufferings, nor hardship, neither temptation. However, they have a Great Highpriest in Heaven, Who intercedes for them before God, and makes peace offering to God. They therefore should live faithfully and victoriously for God. Though their Highpriest is far above all creature and abides in Heaven, by no means He is far from them. Indeed, He is near to His people and sympathizes their needs and weaknesses. Jesus once lived on the earth and was tempted as a Man in all points. He is the ground of confidence before God. Though God is holy, just, and righteous, mortal are able to fellowship Him through such a perfect Highpriest and Mediator.
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 4
Verses 1 to 11. The main topic spoken of here is the rest of God. (1) The promise of God's rest is referred to the eternal rest of His people in Heaven. It does not mean that they shall enter into a state of idleness, for God and Christ, though are described as rest from their works (Heb.4:4, 10), still are active in the affairs of the world. It must be referred to the completion of their duties and the enjoyment of eternal life with God. (2) This promise of rest is promised to God's people in every age, such as in the time of Moses, of Joshua, of David, and of the Christian Dispensation. (3) There are conditions set by God for men to enter into this promise of rest. Since some Israelites fell short of obtaining it (Heb.4:6), and the Jewish Christians were urged to beware of short-coming of it. God's promise is given with conditions. (4) The condition for one to entering into this rest is his obedience and faithful to God's revealed word. Since some Israelites fell because of (1) unbelief and (2) disobedience (Heb.4:2, 6, 11). (5) Biblical and saving faith must be active and energetic, since the author urged his readers to labor for entering into His rest (Heb.4:11).
Verse 12-13. The scrutiny of God is penetrating. (1) To the obedient believers, the word is effectual and strengthening, but the word is the instrument of judgement and of condemnation to those who would harden their heart. (2) The word of God is so power that it can penetrate to the innermost and deepest part of men, their seat of motive and intention. (3) The omniscience of God should be a powerful motivating factor for Christian to live sincerely and faithfully to Him, for every secret thing a man does is known of Him. Nothing is hidden from His all-seeing eye.
Verses 14-16. (1) Jesus is the Great Highpriest in Heaven for Christians, Who is the Son of God
and is far above all creature. (2) Yet He is not far from His people, for He is sympathetic to His
people and understands their weaknesses. (3) He, though has been tempted in all points as men
have, is the sinless Highpriest. (4) Christians should pray to God in time of temptation, so to
receive strength from God. (5) The throne of God is modified by the word grace, but not justice
here, because Jesus is the Mediator.
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 5
Jesus, the perfect Highpriest.
I. (1-4) The characteristics of Levitical highpriests are described.
A. (1) They are taken from among men.
B. (1) They minister things pertain to God and men.
C. (1)They are ordained to things pertaining to men.
D. (1) They offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
E. (2) They have compassion for sinners.
F. (2) They themselves have weaknesses.
G. (3) They have to offer sacrifice for themselves.
H. (4) They are ordained by God but not themselves.
I. (4) They have to be born into the priesthood.
II. (5-10) Christ has perfectly satisfied these qualifications.
A. (5) Christ is humble.
B. (5) He has God's Divine favor.
C. (6) He is prophetically ordained as the Highpriest.
D. (6) He is inaugurated into His office by God's oracle.
E. (7) He is the Son of Man.
F. (7) He can sympathize the infirmities of men.
G. (7) He overcame the weakness of the flesh.
H. (8) He is the Son of God.
I. (8) He obeyed God in the day of His flesh.
J. (9) He earned the Priesthood by His accomplishment.
K. (9) He become Author of salvation for men.
L. (10) He has a better Priesthood.
III. (11-14) Their spiritual retardation is reproved.
A. (11) They are dull of hearing.
B. (12) They fail to progress due to their responsibility.
C. (12) They are babes in the Faith.
D. (13) They are unskillful in the word of righteousness.
E. (14) They are not able to use their judgement to discern between good and evil.
Exegetical Commentary of Hebrews 5
In this chapter, the author began to speak about the Highpriesthood of Jesus. It is indeed
a fundamental topic in the Divine religion, for there would be no communion between God and
men without a priesthood for mediator. Also, God is transcended in holiness and perfection, men
therefore need purification of sins before they could approach Him. The role of Highpriest is to
fulfill these necessary conditions. The author first listed the qualifications of the Levitical priests
and their ministry. Then, he exposed their weakness and imperfection. Having done this, he
demonstrated that Christ fulfilled the qualifications of being a Priest, and that He satisfied the
imperfect parts of the Levitical priesthood with His absolute sinlessness and obedience before
From verses 1 to 4, the author explained to the readers the characteristics of the Levitical priests, in order to prove and illustrate the priesthood of Christ. The Divine revelation records that priest has been ordained by God from the beginning. Before the giving of the law to Israel on Mount Sinai, every father of a family was the priest to his house. This is called the Patriarchal Dispensation. Then, in the Mosaic period, the descendants of Aaron were ordained by God to be priests for the nation Israel. There were moral and physical requirements demanded of them (Lev.21). They were taken from men to do God's ministry for their fellow men. Since they
were men, they therefore could sympathize the weakness of men. They were to offer sin offerings
and gifts of thanksgiving on men's behalf to God. No man could claim this office but was solely
depended on God's appointment. Though the Levitical priesthood was Divinely ordained by God,
by no means was it perfect, because it was only a shadow of the better ministry (Heb.10:1). The
sons of Aaron were not sinless, they therefore needed to offer sacrifices for themselves. Also,
they could not have a perfect approach before God's presence, but entered once a year into the
holy of holy with careful observance.
From verses 5 to 10, the author demonstrated that Jesus was the perfect Highpriest for the New Testament, Who was qualified the conditions of being a Priest, and even superseded the imperfect Levitical priesthood by His moral excellence. Christ did not assume Himself to be a Priest, but was ordained by God into the priesthood. He also had the Divine favor of God, and by inheritance He obtained the ministry, Who being the Son of God. He Himself could sympathize the weaknesses of men, for He was partaker of humanity. Concerning His superiority and excellency, (1) He was holy and sinless, and (2) He overcame temptations and sufferings by submitting to God's provision, and (3) He was in complete obedience to God, and (4) He accomplished the scheme of redemption for men, and (5) became the Author of eternal salvation for God's people, and (6) He was put into office by His perfect works, and (7) He obtained an eternal priesthood by God's order.
From verse 11 to 14, the author changed the subject and began to reprove the readers concerning their spiritual retardation. They were described as "dull of hearing". It refers to their lack of understanding of God's word. They also fell to progress spiritually as their responsibility, for they ought to be teachers of God's truth, but yet they themselves were ignorant and needed someone to instruct them as beginners in the Faith. If they grew as they ought to be, they should be able to exercise their judgement. By knowing God's word, the grown up men should distinguish the good things from the evil. It was the problem of the Hebrews readers who were immature and unstable in the truth. They therefore determined to left Christianity and to go back into Judaism. Perhaps, they were afraid of persecutions or were deceived by the Judaizing teachers.
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 5
Verses 1 to 4. The qualifications of Levitical priests and imperfection of it are spoken of here. (1) They were taken from men. (2) They were ordained for God's ministry. (3) They were mediators between God and men. (4) They were minister for men in offering gifts of thanksgiving and sacrifices for sins unto God. (5) They could sympathize their fellow men. (6) They were ordained by God into the office. (7) They were born into the priesthood, no man could claim the office. (8) They were not sinless, therefore needed to offer sacrifices for themselves.
Verses 5 to 10. (1) Christ fulfilled all the qualifications of being a Priest: (a) He had the Divine favor to be a Priest, (b) He was by right obtained the office, (c) He was partaker of humanity, (d) He could sympathize His fellow men, for He was tempted and had suffered as a Man, (e) He did not claim the office Himself, but God inaugurated Him into the priesthood, (f) Christ was the perfect Mediator between God and men, (g) He was to offer spiritual gifts and to make purification of sin for men (Heb.1:3). (2) Christ's priesthood superseded the Levitical priesthood: (a) He was sinless, thus, could have perfect communion with God and does not have to offer sacrifice for Himself, (b) He overcame temptations and sin, therefore is able to help His people to overcome sin, (c) He opened the door of salvation for those who follow His steps in obeying God, (d) He has ordained of God into an everlasting priesthood, (e) He is the Son of God, therefore is the complete and perfect Highpriest, (f) He was inaugurated into the office by His accomplishment of God's will (v.10), never was a man like this.
Verses 11 to 14. A contrast of spiritual maturity and retardation is given here for admonition. The spiritual retardant is one that is (1) "dull of hearing" referring to lack of understanding of God's truth, and to one's inability to learn, (2) only able to drink milk, means he stays at stage of new beginner who is unstable and ignorant to the whole counsel of God, (3) failed to make spiritual progress as God has decreed, (4) unable to exercise his judgement, and to discern good things from the evil, (5) unable or unskillful to make application of God's word in daily living (v.13).
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 6
The promise of God is sure because of Jesus the Forerunner.
I. (1-8) The peril of departing from the faith is illustrated.
A. (1-3) Go on to perfection.
1. (1-2) Leave the Old Testament teaching.
2. (1-2) Go to apply the teaching of the New Testament.
3. (3) The urgency is seen.
B. (4-6) The consequence of departing from Christianity is severe and fatal.
1. (4-5)The privileges of Christians are abundant.
2. (6) The abuse of them is terrible.
C. (7-8) A parable of nature is illustrated.
1. (7) They that produce fruit will be blessed.
2. (8) They that are unproductive shall be destroyed.
II. (9-20) A message of hope and of encouragement is given.
A. (9-12) Instructions are given.
1. (9) Be saved.
2. (10) Abound in good works of God.
3. (11) Be persevered in the Faith.
4. (12) Be diligence in the Faith.
5. (12) Be followers of good examples.
B. (13-20) The promise of eternal life for God's people is sure.
1. (13-15) God is faithful to fulfill His promise.
a. (13) God's promise is sworn with an oath.
b. (14) God's promise is related.
c. (15) Abraham obtained the promise through endurance.
2. (16-17) God will keep His oath.
a. (16) An oath will confirm the matter
b. (17) God made an oath to assure His people.
3. (18-20) God's assurance for His people is sure.
a. (18) Christians have consolation in two immutable things. b. (19) Christians have hope as anchor of the soul.
c. 20) Christians have a Forerunner into the holy place.
Exegetical Commentary of Hebrews 6
Having reproved the spiritual retardation of the readers in the prior context, the author urged them to leave the first principles of the doctrine of Christ and to go on unto perfection. The "principles of the doctrine of Christ" do not refer to basic Christian teaching, but refer to the teachings of the O.T. that prefigure the Christian doctrine. These O.T. fundamental teachings are revealed in their fullness in the New Testament. Repentance is to turn to God (Acts 20:21), and faith must exercise toward Christ (John 14:1), and purification of sin is done in Christian baptism (Acts 22:16), and confession of sin is promised through Christ's propitiation (1 John 1:9; cf. Num. 27:18, 23) and resurrection is assured by Christ's (1 Cor.15:20-22), and eternal judgement will be executed by Christ at His second coming (John 5:27).
From verses 4-8, the author warned his readers about the peril of departing from the system of Christianity. They would be severely punished by God if they rejected His Son Jesus and His revelation. They indeed had abundantly been blessed by God with gifts of the Spirit, and He also had testified His Final revelation to them (Heb.2:2-4). Therefore, if they rejected this Final revelation, they had rejected the grace of God, and despised the blood of the Son of God. There also would be no place for repentance, for Jesus was the only way for sinner to turn (Acts 4:12). The author then spoke a parable of nature, which set forth the truth that they who produce fruit to God would be blessed, but that they who were unproductive would be cursed.
From verses 9-12, the author gave at least five instructions to the readers to continue in the faith. First, he expressed his expectation of their salvation, that they should set their heart on this sole object. By doing this, works of faith should be manifested in their lives. Second, they ought to abound in good works, since God would not forget their labor of love toward the saints, but would reward them in due time. Third, they should persevere in their Christian profession in spite of persecutions or hardship, for these things were only for a short while as comparing to eternity. Fourth, they should not be slothful in good works, but be diligent. Fifth, they should follow the good examples of heroes of faith, who endured unto the end through God's aid and obtained His promise.
From verses 13 to 20, the author encouraged his readers that they should maintain their faithfulness in view of God's assurance in fulfilling His promise. He related the narrative of Abraham in Gen.22:16-17, that God fulfilled the promise which He made to Abraham. In this event, God expressed His determination and willingness to bless him by making an oath, and on the human part, Abraham obtained His promise through endurance of faith. The author used the event to illustrate that their hope of eternal life was sure, for the blessing of God's oath to Abraham was spoken in reference of salvation in Christ (Gal.3:26-29). This hope for the soul of Christian is likened unto an anchor to a ship, for the anchor will prevent the ship to be drifted away from the harbor by the wind and the waves, and the hope which is confirmed by "two immutable things", God's oath and promise, can help Christian to remain steadfast in the Faith. Another assurance for Christians is the Forerunner Jesus Christ Who enters into the holy presence of God and ministers for them, so that they might approach the presence of God through the mediatorship. Therefore, Christians should be steadfast in the faith and rejoice in their hope.
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 6
Verses 1 to 3. (1) Christians are commanded to grow in the Faith. It is accomplished by studying God's word and applying it in life. (2) The "word of the beginning of Christ" is referred to the O.T. teachings which prefigure the Christian doctrine. They are revealed in their full meaning in the N.T.: (a) Repentance is to turn to God and to cease from the practice of sin (Acts 20:21). (b) Faith is to place on Christ and His teaching (John 14:1). (c) O.T. washings of purification prefigure Christian baptism, in which God washes away sins of the applicant. (d) "Laying on of hands" is referred to the confession of sin accompanying the offering of sacrifice in the first covenant. Confession of sin is made to God through prayer by Christ's mediatorship. (e)
Resurrection from the dead is assured in Christ's resurrection (1 Cor.15:20-22). (f) The doctrine
of judgement is described in details in the N.T.
Verses 4-6. (1) The punishment for Christians who depart from the truth is severe and terrifying. They simply have despised God's grace and goodness. (2) Christians indeed have abundantly been blessed by God in Christ, from Whom is the source of all spiritual blessings (Eph.1:3). Therefore if one turns from the system of Christianity, there would be no hope for him.
Verses 7-8. A parable of nature is given, which is indeed one of the principal lessons taught in God's word. That is, those who obey His word and produce fruit unto Him shall be blessed, but those who reject His word and produce fruit of wickedness shall be cursed.
Verses 9 to 12. Five instructions for Christian profession are given. (1) They are to set their mind on the hope of salvation. (2) They are to abound in good works of Faith. (3) They are to persevere in the faith. (4) They are to be diligent in the truth. (5) They are to follow the good example of the heroes of Faith.
Verses 13-20. (1) God's faithfulness and willingness to bless His people is confirmed
in two immutable things, His promise and oath. (2) Men however are to endure unto the end in
order to obtain the promise. (3) Another assurance is Christ the Highpriest Who being the
Forerunner for them before God's presence. (4) The hope of eternal life for Christians is
compared with an anchor to a ship. The ship will not be drifted away from its place by wind or by
waves because of its anchor. Even so, Christians should remain steadfast because of their hope
which is confirmed by God.
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 7
Jesus is a better Priest.
I. (1-10) The Melchisedec Priesthood is superior to the Aaronic Priesthood.
A. (1-3) The facts about Melchisedec are given.
1. (1) He was the priest of God.
2. (1) He blessed Abraham returning from the battle.
3. (2) Abraham acknowledged his priestly office by offering tithe to him.
4. (2) His name signifies his moral and royal dignity.
5. (3) His order of priesthood was not limited by descent, nor time of service.
6. (3) His order of priesthood was likened unto Christ's.
B. (4-10) The rationale of the superiority of the Melchisedec Priesthood is given.
1. (4-5) Abraham offered tithe to him.
2. (6-7) He blessed Abraham.
3. (8) He was perpetually a priest.
4. (9-10) The sons of Levi paid tithe to him in Abraham.
II. (11-28) Jesus is the perfect Highpriest.
A. (11-15) He does not belong to the Levitical priesthood, the imperfect priesthood.
1. (11, 15) The Aaronic priesthood is evidently imperfect, since God promised to raise a Priest in the order of another order.
2. (12) The law has also changed after the better priesthood.
3. (13-14) Jesus belongs to the tribe of Judea.
B. (16-22) He brings a better testament through the Melchisedec priesthood.
1. (15-17) He is testified a perpetual Priest after the order of Melchisedec.
2. (18-19) He brings in a better hope.
3. (20-22) He is made Priest with God's oath, which shows a surety of
C. (23-25) He has a perpetual and unchangeable priesthood.
D. (26-28) He is holy and sinless.
Exegetical Commentary of Hebrews 7
After introducing the fact that Jesus's priesthood was of the order of Melchisedec, the author, in this chapter, began to expound the subject of Christ's priesthood. He first proved that the Melchisedec's priesthood was superior to the Aaronic's. After that, he proved Christ was the
perfect Highpriest. From verses 1 to 3, he introduced the historical event recorded in Gen. 14:18-20 concerning Melchisedec's priestly ministry. When Abraham returned from the slaughter
of the kings to rescue the possession of Lot, Melchisedec came to him and blessed him.
Abraham received his blessing and offered the tithe of the spoil unto him. The author made use of
this event to point out that Abraham, the father of the nation, acknowledged his religious super-
iority as God's priest. Melchisedec is titled as the king of righteousness and of peace, which
implies his moral excellency. His priesthood was not bound by descent, for never was his ancestry mentioned. He was a perpetual priest to God, not as the Aaronic priest which was limited by age, from 25 to 50. But He served as a priest until the point of death. From verses 4 to 10, the author expounded the historical record and illustrated that the priesthood of Melchisedec was superior to Aaron's. The reasons are: (1) Abraham paid tithe unto him, (2)
Melchisedec blessed Abraham, (3) he served perpetually as God's priest, and (4) the sons of Levi
paid tithe to him through Abraham, their father.
In the second half of the chapter, the author illustrated the fact that Jesus was the perfect Highpriest. From verses 11 to 15, he pointed out that Jesus was not sprung from the tribe of Levi, but from the tribe of Judea. The point is that Jesus did not belong to the inferior nor imperfect priesthood. The author argued that since the Lord promised to rise another Priest after the order of Melchisedec (Ps.110), therefore, it implied that the Aaronic priesthood was imperfect. Moses who received God's instruction concerning the First Testament specified that the tribe of Levi was to be the priests for God's ministry. Thus, the other eleven tribes could not be priest under the First Dispensation. Since God would establish a better priesthood, it implied that He would establish another Testament. This fact was illustrated in verses 16-22. Jesus' priesthood was inaugurated and established by God Himself Who made an oath to demonstrate its importance, and preciousness, and perpetuality. Whereas the Aaronic priesthood was inaugurated by Moses, and was verified by the blood of animals. Indeed, it was served as a prefigure of the better Testament. Moreover, the Aaronic priesthood was not established by God's oath.
The imperfectness of Aaronic priesthood and the perfectness of Jesus' priesthood is further contrasted in verses 23-28. (1) Many priests were needed under the Aaronic priesthood to minister for the people, for they were subjected to the power of death, and they served only from the age of 25-50. Jesus Himself alone satisfies the priesthood of God in the New Dispensation to minister for His people, for He lives forever. His eternal and perpetual ministry assures the salvation of God's people, for He is ever to make propitiation and intercession for them. (2) The Aaronic priesthood was imperfect because the priests had infirmities. They had to offer sacrifices for their sin every day before they could offer sacrifice for God's people. But Jesus was sinless, holy, and consecrated. Therefore, He had perfect approach unto God. Moreover, He offered Himself as the sin-offering for God's people once for all. By His selfless love, and moral perfection, and Godly attribute, He was made the perfect and perpetual Priest by God with His oath.
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 7
Verses 1-3. The person of Melchisedec is described. (1) He was an historical person. (2) He was a priest of God. (3) He blessed Abraham and received tithe from him. Therefore, Abraham acknowledged his ministry and superiority. (4) He was king of Salem, who was righteous and peaceful in character. (5) There is no genealogical record of him, nor his death. (6) He was a perpetual priest of God, likening to Christ's priesthood.
Verses 4-10. The priesthood of Melchisedec is superior to the Aaronic priesthood. (1) Abraham, the father of the nation, paid tithe unto him. Therefore, his greatness was recognized by Abraham. (2) Melchisedec blessed Abraham, for he that blessed was greater that him whom was blessed. (3) He served perpetually as God's priest, but the sons of Aaron served from the age of 25 to 50. They were dismissed from the priesthood before their physical death. (4) The sons of Levi paid tithe to him through Abraham, their forefather.
Verses 11 to 15. (1) Jesus did not belong to the Aaronic priesthood which was an imperfect one. (2) Jesus belonged to the tribe of Judea which Moses was silent about the priesthood. (3) Since God promised to establish another priesthood, it indicated that the Aaronic priesthood was imperfect. (4) The change of the priesthood necessitated the change of the law and of the testament. (5) The silence of Bible does not give us the freedom to add thing to God's specified commandment.
Verses 16 to 22. Jesus brings in a better testament. (1) Jesus was made a Priest not by the law, but by God's oath. (2) The law of the First Testament was described as "the law of a carnal commandment". Because it was imperfect, and was served to prefigure the better covenant. (3) Jesus brings a better hope for God's people who can be drawn near unto God through the perfect Highpriest. (4) God's oath of putting Jesus to the Priesthood proved His willingness and determination to bless His people. (5) Jesus brings in a better Testament through His perfect Priesthood.
Verses 23 to 28. Jesus is the perfect Highpriest. (1) The Aaronic priests were subjected to death and age. Thus, many priests were needed to minister for the people. But Jesus is eternal and is not subjected to death. Therefore, He Himself alone is sufficient to be the Priest of God. (2) His perpetual priesthood assures the salvation of His people, because He is ever to make intercession for them. (3) The Aaronic priests were limited by their infirmities, who needed to make sacrifices for their own sins before they could offer sacrifices for others. Jesus was sinless and holy, therefore, did not have to offer sacrifice for Himself. Moreover, He offered Himself as the perfect sin-offering for God's people. (4) By His perfect attribute, and selfless love, and perfect obedience, God ordained Him into the perpetual Priesthood by an oath.
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 8
Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant.
I. (1-5) Jesus has a better ministry.
A. (1-2) His ministry is in Heaven.
B. (2) His ministry is of the true tabernacle.
C. (3-4) His ministry is not an earthly one.
1. (3) He has to offer gifts and sacrifices for God's people.
2. (4) He could not be a priest on earth under the law.
D. (5) Moses' ministry was a shadow of the Heavenly.
II. (6-13) He is the Mediator of a better Testament.
A. (6) It contains better promises.
B. (7-9) The need for the New Testament is given.
1. (7) The first one was imperfect.
2. (8) God promised to establish the New Covenant.
3. (9) They first recipients failed to keep the First covenant.
C. (10-12) The perfectness of the New Testament is illustrated.
1. (10) The law is written in the heart.
2. (10) God and men have a perfect communion.
3. (11) They will know the way of God.
4. (12) God will be merciful to them.
5. (12) God will cleanse their sins.
D. (13) The New covenant is to replace the Old covenant.
Exegetical Commentary of Hebrews 8
The theme of the chapter is that Jesus is the Mediator of the perfect Covenant. After the composition of the prior chapter, the author established the fact that Jesus was the perfect Highpriest comparing to the weakness and imperfectness of Aaronic priesthood. In this chapter, he again emphasized the same fact in different angles. He pointed out that Jesus had a better ministry for God's people, and that He also brought the better covenant into effect for them.
The author first showed his readers that Jesus had an Heavenly ministry, Who possessed the highest rank in Heaven as God had. He is the King Who is enthroned and reigns on the right hand of God. His ministry therefore must be superior than the Levitical priesthood, since the earthly naturally is inferior to the Heavenly. Jesus would not be a Priest if He were to serve the priesthood on the earth. Since God had ordained every ordinance of the sacrificial system of the Levitical order, and separated only the sons of Aaron to be priests. Some Jews might have rejected the idea of Jesus being a Priest Who sprang from the tribe of Judea. But God's plan was perfect, Who had predetermined to ordain the perfect Highpriest, and testified in the O.T. scripture that He would establish another Priest after a better order (Ps.110). So that, no sound man could find fault with His oracle. Secondly, His ministry is better because it is the real object of the prefigured ministry in the Old Dispensation. After God gave instructions to Moses regarding the building of the tabernacle, Moses observed "all things according to the pattern" which he had seen in Heaven (Exo.25:40). This historical fact proves that the first sanctuary was the "shadow" of the Heavenly tabernacle. Therefore, the ministry of the Levitical priests was a "shadow" of the Heavenly ministry of the Heavenly Highpriest. Thirdly, His Heavenly ministry also brings a better covenant into effect for God's people. In a covenant relationship between God and men, it is necessary to have a priesthood to serve the work of mediation. Since God is holy and righteous, but men have sinned when they reach the age of accountability. Therefore, the function of the priesthood is needed to purify sinners before they could enter and abide in God's covenant. Jesus, the perfect and Heavenly Highpriest of God for men, ensures a better covenant between God and men by His mediation.
From verses 6 to 13, the nature of the New testament is described. The author first explained the necessity of the New Covenant. (1) The Old Covenant was imperfect. If it were perfect, the Old Testament saints would not look for a better Covenant, and God would not promise to establish another Covenant. (2) The first recipients of the First Dispensation did not keep the agreement which they had consented to keep. The vast majority was rejected from God's rest. (3) He had to establish the New Covenant in order to fulfill the promises which He had made to the forefathers. The perfectness of the New Covenant is compared with the First Covenant. (1) The First one was external, and its laws were written on tablets of stone. Whereas, the New is spiritual and internal, its laws are written in the heart of men. Under the First Dispensation, one entered God's covenant to Israel by physical birth. But the New is different, every man enters God's covenant by obedience to His Gospel. Thus, Christians know His ways by heart. (2) Under the Old Covenant, God dealt with Israel as a whole nation. But in the New, God deals with every one individually and personally. (3) God has perfect communion with His people under the New Dispensation through the perfect priesthood of Jesus. (4) Men obtain real forgiveness of sins under the New Sacrificial System. Under the old, the guilt of sin was remembered every year on the day of Atonement. In summary, the New Covenant was established upon better promises for God's people. The First Covenant was described as ready to be vanished away in the time of composition, approximately 64-68 A.D. The Old Law was fulfilled by Christ, and was nailed to His cross (Col.2:13-14).
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 8
Verses 1 to 6. The better ministry of Jesus is described. (1) The ministry of Jesus is better because of His Person. He is the King of the universe, Who is enthroned on the right hand of God and reigns forever more. (2) It is a better one because His ministry is an Heavenly one. (3) It is ordained of God Who has put it into effect. (4) It is the "reality" of the shadow. Moses built the tabernacle according to the pattern which he had seen in Heaven. (5) It is a better one because of the perfect Highpriest. (6) It also makes the bringing in of a better Covenant possible. (7) His ministry also offers a better gifts and sacrifices.
Verse 5. The word "pattern" is significant. There is an objective standard in the realm of religion. Since the authority of religious practices rest on God. Men must search His revelation, in order to find this objective standard and to observe His will. The historical record indicates the fact that Moses did "ALL things according to the pattern" which He had seen in Heaven. Christians must likewise do the same in following the "pattern of God" in all things.
Verses 6 to 13. The better Covenant is contrasted with the First Covenant. (1) The first one was imperfect, which was a shadow of the "good things to come" (Heb.10:1). (2) The majority of the first recipients were rejected by God from the promised land, because it was an external covenant. Its laws were written on tablets of stone. But the New Covenant is an internal and spiritual law, in which the law is written in the hearts of men. They have to know and obey God's will before they could enter and abide in God's covenant. (3) People in the New Covenant receive true forgiveness from God (Rom.3:25; 1 John 1:9; 2:1). But people under the Old Covenant were remembered of their guilt of sin once a year on the Atonement day. (4) God dealt with the nation as a whole under the Old Dispensation. But He deals with people individually and personally under the New Dispensation. (5) There is perfect communion between God and men under the New Covenant through the perfect ministry of Jesus the Highpriest. (6) The Old Covenant was described as being ready to be vanished away in about 64-68 A.D. But the New one is to abide forever, since the Highpriest lives forever. (7) In summary, the New covenant is established upon much better promises, in view of God's blessings to His people.
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 9
Jesus, the perfect sacrifice for sin.
I. (1-14) Jesus offered the ideal sacrifice for sin.
A. (1-10) The sacrificial ministry of the First Covenant was imperfect.
1. (1) The First Covenant was Divinely constituted for an earthly tabernacle.
2. (2-5) The earthly tabernacle is described.
3. (6-7) The earthly ministry is described.
a. (6) The priests served only in the holy place for ordinary things.
b. (7) The highpriest entered the holy of holies once a year with sacrifices for himself and the people.
4. (8-10) It was ordained for a temporary purpose.
a. (8) The Holy Spirit testifies that the entrance before God's presence
was not granted under the First Testament.
b. (9) The way of entrance was a shadow of the New ministry.
c. (9) The consciousness of sin and of imperfection was felt by the
d. (10) The ministry of the First Covenant was in force until the
establishment of the New Covenant.
B. (11-14) The sacrificial ministry of Jesus is perfect.
1. (11) He is the High-Priest of the perfect tabernacle.
2. (12) He enters the holy of holies by His blood.
3. (12) He obtains redemption for His people.
4. (13-14) His sacrifice is well-pleasing to God.
5. (14) He sanctifies sinners for the service of God.
II. (15-23) The necessity of the sacrifice of Jesus is given.
A. (15) His sacrifice validates the promises of the Old Covenant.
B. (16-17) His death constitutes the New Covenant.
C. (18-23) His blood must be shed for the inauguration the New Covenant.
1. (18-22) The First Testament was inaugurated by blood.
2. (23) The better Testament is needed to be inaugurated by the better bloody
sacrifice of Jesus.
III. (24-28) The effect and accomplishment of the sacrifice of Jesus is described.
A. (24) Christ enters into Heaven before the presence of God.
B. (25-26) Christ offered the sacrifice of Himself to purge away sin once for all.
C. (27-28) Christ solves the problem of sin for God's people.
1. (27) The entrance of sin causes physical death and God's judgement to all men.
2. (28) Christ came to the earth offered Himself to bear the sins of His people.
3. (28) Christ will come again to consummate their salvation.
Exegetical Outline of Hebrews 9
Having explained the Priesthood and Covenant of Jesus, the author, in this chapter began to speak on the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. He first pointed out the fact that the sacrificial ministry of the First Testament was temporary and imperfect. Then, he showed forth the perfect sacrificial ministry of Jesus, and its necessity, and its accomplishment. From verses 1 to 7, the Levitical system is described. The author did not deny the system was Divinely ordained. However, God decreed it to be a temporary system until the coming of the better One. The earthly tabernacle is divided by a veil into two tabernacles. The outer one is identified by the furnitures of the candlestick, and the table with the shewbread, where the priests would minister daily ordinances of God for Israel. The inner tabernacle is called the Holy and Holies, where the golden censer and the ark of the covenant were placed. This ark of the covenant represents God's presence to bless His people. Above the ark is the mercy seat placed, where God would extend His mercy in forgiving the sins of the people. However, the High-priests of the First Covenant could enter only once a year into the most Holy place, and offered sin sacrifices for himself and the people. From verses 8 to 10, the temporary and imperfect nature of the sacrificial ministry is illustrated. (1) The entrance into God's presence was not yet granted in the First Sacrificial ministry. Since the high-priest could enter only once a year, and it was not without careful observance. (2) The way of entrance into the Holy of Holies was a shadow of the New Ministry of Jesus. (3) The minister of the First tabernacle was conscious of his guilt and sins, so were the people. (4) The ministry of the Sacrificial system was designed for a temporary purpose until the perfect ministry of Jesus came to effect.
After depicting the defection of the Levitical ministry, the author began to speak about Jesus' perfect ministry and sacrifice. From verses 11-14, His perfect ministry is described. Jesus is the High-Priest of better order, Who is the Minister of the Heavenly and Perfect tabernacle. This tabernacle is not the earthly one, but is created by God. He has free access to God's presence with His precious blood, the sacrifice that has accomplished the redemption of God's people. The sacrifice of Jesus is well-pleasing unto God, and has sanctified His people to be a holy nation for God's service.
From verses 15 to 23, the necessities of the sacrifice of Jesus are given. First of all, His bloody sacrifice brought real fulfillment for God's people to receive His promise of eternal salvation under the First and Patriarchal Dispensation. The sacrifices which they offered were only "shadow of the real thing" (Heb.10:1). The blood of animals could by no means purify sins, but the blood of Jesus is the real sacrifice for sin (Heb.9:13-14). Secondly, His death put the New Covenant into effect. It is evident the testament will not be enforced only if the testator has dead. Thirdly, His death was to inaugurate the New Covenant. As the First Testament was dedicated by blood, even so, Christ had to offer His blood to sanctify the people and to inaugurate the New Covenant. Of course, Jesus had to offer a better sacrifice than the inferior and defected sacrifices were offered in the dedication of the inferior covenant. By His love for the world, He shed His blood to open the door of salvation for them. So that, they who obey His Law and enter into His Covenant might be saved.
From verses 24 to 28, the effects of the sacrifice of Jesus are described. The fundamental idea of a sacrifice of sin is to purify the sinner, in order that he may be freed from guilt and punishment, and that he may enjoy the fellowship of God. The Levitical ministry was imperfect and unable to accomplish this end, though they daily offered many sacrifices unto God. The sacrifice and ministry of Jesus has satisfied the short-coming of the Levitical ministry. (1) By His well-pleasing sacrifice, He has inaugurated to be the Great High-Priest by God, and entered into His presence to make propitiation for His people. (2) He does not have to offer sacrifice daily before God, but He once for all has offered Himself as the perfect sin-appeasing sacrifice. (3) He has also solved the problem of sin by His sacrifice and ministry. Sin has brought physical death, spiritual death, and God's judgement upon men. But the effect of Jesus' work has overpower the effect of sins. Since Christ has died for the behalf of the sinner, and He also continues to purify his sins by His once-for-all sacrifice. However, this blessing of purification is granted to him who obeys His law and abides in His Covenant. Therefore, by His ministry God's people could enjoy spiritual communion with Him. They also have hope in Him Who will appear the second time to consummate God's redemption.
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 9
Verses 1 to 10. The sacrificial system of the Levitical ministry is described. The fundamental idea of a sacrifice of sin is to purify the sinner, in order that he may be freed from guilt and punishment, and that he may enjoy the fellowship of God. The Levitical ministry, though was Divinely instituted, was imperfect and unable to accomplish this end. (1) The tabernacle of the Levitical ministry was an earthly one, as seen in its physical instruments. (2) The entrance into God's presence was not granted under the First ministry, because only the high-priest could enter the Holy of Holies once a year to make atonement for himself and the people. (3) The minister who made the atonement was conscious of his guilt of sin before God, so were the people. Their account of sin was remembered yearly before God. (4) The ministry was a "shadow" of the better ministry that was to come. (5) The ministry was intended to be a temporary one which would be replaced by the Better ministry.
Verses 11-28. Jesus is described to be the perfect High-Priest Who has a better ministry and has offered a perfect sacrifice unto God. (1) He is the High-Priest of the perfect and Heavenly tabernacle which has been established by God. (2) He has obtained free access before God's presence by His bloody sacrifice. (3) He has accomplished redemption for His people through His sacrifice of sin, for He dead on their behalf. The blood of animals could not take away sin, but was a figure of the better sacrifice. Only Christ's blood can purify sin and the conscience of men. (4) His sacrifice is well-pleasing to God. (5) He sanctifies sinners for the service of God. (6) His sacrifice validates the promises of the Old Covenant. The bloody sacrifices offered under the Mosaic and Patriarchal Dispensation were not able to purify sins. They were "shadow" of the perfect sacrifice, the blood of Jesus. (7) His death also constituted the New Covenant which was inaugurated by His blood. (8) He does not have to offer sacrifice daily as the priests of the First Covenant, but He has offered Himself to be the perfect sacrifice of sin once for all. (9) He provided the remedy for sin, and solved the problem of sin by His ministry. Sin brought death
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 10
The Final Sacrifice.
I. (1-18) The consummation of the sacrificial system is accomplished by Christ's sacrifice.
A. (1-4) The defection of the Levitical System is summed up.
1. (1) It is a shadow of the real image.
2. (1) It could not perfect the offerers.
3. (2) The offerings could not purge the conscience of their offerers.
4. (3) Sin was remembered every year.
5. (4) The blood of animals could not take away sin.
B. (5-9) Christ, therefore, came to establish the New Covenant, in order to fulfill the short-coming of the Levitical Law.
1. (5-7) The mission of the Messiah is recorded in Ps.40: 6-8.
2. (8) God had no pleasure in the sacrifices offered under the First Covenant.
3. (9) The Messiah came to inaugurate the New Covenant.
C. (10-14) Christ's "once-for-all" sacrifice perfected God's people from sin.
1. (10) God's people in the New Covenant are purged by the "once-for-all"
sacrifice of Jesus.
2. (11) The service of the priests in the First Covenant could not purge away
3. (12) Having offered Himself to be the final offering for sin, Jesus was
approved and exalted by God.
4. (13) He reigns on the right hand of God forever more.
5. (14) He perfected and fulfilled the sacrificial need of God's people by one
D. (15-18) The consummation of the sacrificial need is testified by the Holy Spirit.
1. (15) The Holy Spirit speaks to men through the Scriptures.
2. (16) God will put His law into the heart of His people in the New Covenant.
3. (17) He then will no longer remember their sins.
4. (18) Therefore, no more sacrifice for sin is needed for them.
II. (19-39) Applications are given to Christians in view of their privileges.
A. (19-21) Privileges of Christians are to be considered.
1. (19-20) They obtain entrance before God's presence by Jesus' sacrifice.
2. (21) They have the Great-High-Priest in Heaven.
B. (22-25) Applications are given.
1. (22) Let us draw near before God with purity and sincerity.
2. (23) Let us hold fast our profession of Christianity.
3. (24) Let us encourage one another to good works.
4. (25) Let us not forsake the assembling of Christians.
5. (25) Let us exhort one another regarding our hope.
C. (26-31) The peril of apostasy is admonished.
1. (26-27) Willful sin will be punished.
2. (28-29) The punishment is more severe under the New Covenant.
3. (30-31) God will certainly execute His justice on sinners.
D. (32-39) Exhortation to faithfulness is given in view of the past, present, and future.
1. (32-34) Their past labor of love is remembered.
2. (35-37) They should endure in view of the future hope.
3. (38-39) They should stand fast in the present time.
Exegetical Commentary on Hebrews 10
The summary of this chapter is that Jesus has offered the perfect sacrifice unto God, and satisfied the need for the redemption of men. After stating and proving the imperfection of the sacrificial system, the author described the accomplishment of Christ's "once-for-all" sacrifice. This sacrifice perfected and sanctified God's people once time for all. Therefore, the Jewish Christians should not return to the Levitical sacrificial system. It was unnecessary and vain for them to offer animal sacrifice, for the old system was fulfilled and had been done away.
From verses 1 to 10, the author summed up the defection of the Levitical sacrificial system, and proved his case from the Scriptures. The sacrificial system under the law of Moses was only a "shadow" of the real image, the perfect sacrifice of Christ. Though the offerers offered innumerous sacrifices yearly through the Levitical priesthood before the altar, they were not perfected by these sacrifices. The blood of animals could not take away their sins, for their conscience were never cleansed by it. If these sacrifices could purge away their sins, they would not have to offer sacrifices continually. Indeed, the sacrifice which they offered yearly on the Atonement Day reminded them of their need of cleansing. Psalm 40:6-8 evidently proves that God was not satisfied with the sacrifices offered in the First Covenant, though He decreed them to be offered. They were offered for the prefiguration of the perfect sacrifice which Jesus would offer. Christ came into the world in human form, and died on the behalf of their sins. By His sacrificial death, He perfectly purged God's people sins, and established the New Covenant.
From verses 11 to 14, the effects and accomplishment of His once-for-all sacrifice are described. The priests had to offer sacrifices continually under the First Covenant. This fact shows that their work was not effective. But Jesus offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice, and accomplished the need of purging sins for God's people once for all. God also has crowned Him to be the King of the universe, in order to demonstrate His Divine approval and satisfaction of His redeeming sacrifice. By His sacrifice, the scheme of redemption is accomplished and will be consummated when He returns to judge the world. In verses 15-18, the author summed up his argumentation of the imperfection of the Levitical system by the witness of the Holy Spirit. That is, He prophesied that God would not remember the sins of His people in the New Covenant. Since God's New Covenant had inaugurated, and they had real forgiveness in it. They should not return to the Old Law of Moses and the Levitical system, for there was no need for the offering of animal sacrifices.
Having proved his argument, the author began to exhort and to admonish the readers. Since they had obtained such a privilege to approach God through Jesus the Great-High-Priest, and they had been blessed in the New Covenant. They ought to strive for purity, sincerity, and holiness so that they might approach God blamelessly. The privilege of forgiveness is by no means a license to sin for them (Rom.6:1-14), but God's favor and goodness to promote them to good works. They ought to continue in their Christian profession, since God is faithful in His promises. They should encourage one to another in their Christian profession, and be good examples in good works of faith. They ought to attend their assembly, since God has decreed them to be one and to be light to the world (John 17:21).
From verses 26 to 31, the author warned the readers about the dangers of apostasy from the New Covenant. Only the Christian system had provided the sacrifice for sins. If they departed from it, they were without the hope of salvation. Indeed, the departure from Christ was a willful sin, for they were enlightened by the teaching of the inspired men that Christ was the summation of God's redemptive purpose. The punishment was much more severe for them that despised the Messiah of God and His covenant than those who sinned in the First Dispensation. Since Christians had greater privileges, and Christ had much greater authority than Moses and the angels. God would certainly take vengeance on the offenders of His law, for He was just and righteous.
From verses 32-39, the author made another appeal unto the readers. First, he reminded them of their former work of faith. They were once partakers with other faithful Christians in the sufferings and persecutions of the cross. They were well able to overcome the conflict of hardship when they first had obeyed the Gospel. Second, they should focus on the future hope which they would receive on the second coming of Christ. Since only those who maintained their faithfulness and endurance would be saved, they ought to be patience and diligent in their labor for God. So that, they might obtain His promise and reward. Having reminded their Christian privilege, he warned them that if any would depart from Christianity and return unto Judaism, they would displease God.
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 10
Verses 1 to 4. The imperfection of the Levitical sacrificial system is summed up. (1) The sacrificial system under the law of Moses was a shadow of the real image, the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. (2) It could purge the conscience of the offerers, for their sins were remembered every year on the Day of Atonement. The fact that the blood of animals could not take away sin was evident.
Verses 5 to 10. (1) Though God decreed the sacrificial system in the Old Testament, it did not satisfy Him. This fact is testified by the 40th psalm where the Messiah spoke of His coming into the world to offer Himself as the perfect sin-sacrifice. (2) The coming of the Messiah was also for the fulfilling of the Old Law, and the inauguration of the New Covenant. (3) His sacrifice satisfied the need of God's people regarding the cleansing of their sins.
Verses 11 to 14. The "once-for-all" sacrifice of Christ is described. (1) Christ's one time sacrifice of Himself fulfilled the short-coming and unprofitableness of the daily sacrificial system of the Levitical priesthood. His sacrifice was able to take away sins, but the Levitical could not. (2) God approved His sacrifice by crowning Jesus to be the King of the universe. (3) His sacrifice accomplished God's redemptive plan for mankind.
Verses 15 to 18. (1) Christians should not return to the Levitical sacrificial system. Since Christians have obtained forgiveness of sins under the New Dispensation. It is therefore vain and unnecessary for them to offer any animal sacrifices to God. (2) Scriptures could be used to prove a doctrine.
Verses 19-21. Christian privileges are described. (1) They have the perfect approach unto God by the blood of Jesus. (2) Christianity is spoken of as a new and living way. The Old Law is a old and dead way after the establishment of the New Dispensation. (3) They have a Great-High-Priest in Heaven, Who minister on their behalf.
Verses 22-25. Five exhortations are given. (1) Christians should draw near before God with purity and sincerity. (2) They should hold fast the profession of Christianity. (3) They should encourage one another to good works. (4) They should not forsake the assembling of Christians. (5) They should exhort one to another regarding their hope of eternal salvation.
Verses 26 to 39. (1) Christians could depart from the faith if they choose to. (2) Christians would suffer greater condemnation if they leave their profession of faith than the people under the O.T. Because they have greater privileges and the Mediator of the New Covenant is greater (3) God will execute justice on the offenders of His covenant. (4) Any man that depart from the New Dispensation is spoken as committing a willful sin, and despising God's grace and Christ's blood. (5) Christians should endure in their profession in view of their past experience, future glory, and present privileges.
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 11
The just shall live by Faith.
I. (1-3) Faith is defined.
A. (1) The object of faith is God's testimony to the unseen reality.
B. (2) Men are to live by His testimony.
C. (3) Men are to believe in His testimony.
II. (4-38) Faith is illustrated.
A. (4-7) Men of faith seek for God's approval.
1. (4) Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice by faith.
2. (5) Enoch was translated by faith in God.
3. (6) God rewards them that diligently seek Him.
4. (7) Noah became heir of righteousness by obedience of faith.
B. (8-16) Men of faith expect a better country.
1. (8-10) Abraham left his house and sojourned in a strange land.
2. (11-12) Sarah received strength to conceive.
3. (13-14) They recognize themselves as strangers of the world.
4. (15) They are mindful of the Heavenly home.
5. (16) God has prepared them a Heavenly home.
C. (17-22) Men of faith trust in God's promise of eternal life.
1. (17-19) Abraham offered up Isaac his son.
2. (20) Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau.
3. (21) Jacob worshipped God at the point of death.
4. (22) Joseph made mention of his bone.
D. (23-31) Men of faith risk their lives for God and His purpose.
1. (23) Moses' parents were not afraid the king of Egypt.
2. (24-26) Moses chose to suffer shame with God's people.
3. (27) Moses was not afraid the king of Egypt.
4. (28-29) Moses delivered God's people by faith.
5. (30) Israel conquered Jericho by faith.
6. (31) Rahab received the spies by faith.
E. (32-34) Men of faith overcome trials of faith.
F. (35-38) Men of faith will suffer for the hope of eternal life.
III. (39-40) Faith shall be consummated.
A. (39) Men in the First Covenant had not obtained the redemption of the body.
B. (40) Men in the New Covenant have better knowledge and privileges in their
C. (40) They both shall be perfected at Christ's coming because of their faith.
Exegetical Commentary of Hebrews 11
The principles of Biblical faith are defined and illustrated in this chapter. The author mentioned the heroes of faith recorded in the O.T. Scriptures, in order to motivate the readers. Though persecutions and trials were awaiting them, they should live faithfully to God by their trust in His testimony and promise. Biblical faith is defined in verses 1 to 3, that is, men live according to God's testimony. The object of men's faith must be dependant on God's revealed word. For instance, men would not yearn for Heaven if God had not reveal it, men would not know the work and Person of Christ unless the Bible had revealed them. This fact is proven by the creation of the world. Men would not know the world was created out of non-substance unless God revealed it to be so. Men, however, have to trust and to live by the word and principles revealed in God's testimony. If otherwise, God would reject them from His promise and blessing of eternal life, since they by their own will refuse to obey Him.
Biblical faith is illustrated in the lives of godly and faithful men recorded in the O.T. Scriptures. First, men of faith sought for God's approval. It could be illustrated in the obedient life of Abel, Enoch, and Noah. Abel offered an approved sacrifice to God by following the Divine testimony, and was accounted as righteous by Him. Enoch walked with God by obedient faith, and did not see death, for God had rewarded his faith. Noah built an ark by God's instructions, and he and his house were saved from the flood. God indeed rewards them that seek after His will and obey His testimony.
By God's testimony, men of faith also recognized that they were strangers in the world, and desired to enter into Heaven. By God's calling, Abraham left his home in Ur of the Chaldees, and went to a strange land, and sojourned there for about an hundred years. It was because he knew that God had prepared a better country for him, which he would dwell eternally. The patriarchs had the same faith liken unto Abraham. They all yearned for the Heavenly land of promise, and lived a faithful and obedient life to God's testimony.
Trusting in God's fulfillment of His promise is one characteristic of Biblical faith. By trusting God's oracle, Abraham was able to offer up his son Isaac on the altar, for God had promised him that his seed line would be through Isaac. He therefore trusted that God would raise Isaac from the dead. By trusting in God's promise of eternal life, Isaac blessed his sons Jacob and Esau concerning the seed line of God's Messiah. Jacob worshipped God at the point of death, because he recognized the after-life promise. So was Joseph in mentioning the burial of his bones, who trusted in the promise of Heaven.
By the witness of God's word, men of faith would be willing to risk their life for God and His purpose than to compromise to the enemies. Moses' parents possessed this kind of character, when they were threatened to kill their babe by king Pharoah. By their confidence in God, they were not afraid to oppose the king. This God fearing character was also found in the life of Moses. Though he could live as the son of Pharoah and enjoy the worldly pleasure in the palace of Egypt, he rather chose to suffer shame with the people of God. He treasured the Heavenly reward much higher than the earthly one. By the promise of God, Moses was able to deliver the nation of Israel from the land of Egypt. This kind of confident and victorious faith was also seen in the conquest of Jericho, when the sons of Israel trusted in God's oracle in compassing the city for seven days. The wall fell by their obedient faith. Also, Rahab, by receiving the spies of Israel, was delivered from the slaughter of the inhabitants of Jericho, because she had heard and believed in the power of the Lord.
By God's testimony, men of faith also possessed a victorious and steadfast faith under persecutions and trials. In the Hebrew history, many heroes of faith had overcome the assaults of the wicked men, for God had miraculously delivered them. However, there were faithful men who were not delivered by God. It does not mean that they were unfaithful, nor God was unjust. The reason of their affliction is God allowed them to be persecuted, and that He intended to deliver men's spiritual life more than their physical life. The spiritual man lives forever, but the physical life will decay anyway. Having listed the sufferings and persecutions of the saints, the author encouraged the readers to live by faith. If the O.T. saints were able to endure such a hardship by trusting the testimony of God, Christians ought to be able to endure trials and sufferings. Because they have much better knowledge of God's will in regard to His redemptive purpose, and have much better privileges in approaching Him and in spiritual blessings. Christians must be living by faith and dying by faith, in order to obtain the same promise of eternal inheritance through Christ. God had intended to bless both groups with the same reward, therefore, He delayed fulfilling the promise to the O.T. saints. Christians ought to have faith that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 11
Verses 1 to 3. (1) The essence of Biblical faith is defined in this section. The object of faith is the word of God (Rom.10:17). On men's part, they have to live by this testimony. (2) God's word also provides hope and support for His people to live faithfully unto Him. Since God cannot lie but will keep His promise. Christians therefore can rely on His word of promise. (3) God's word testifies the world was created by the word of God out of non-existing things. It rejects the concept of evolution, but is harmonious with the creation record in Genesis.
Verses 4-7. One characteristic of men of faith is they obeyed God's testimony to seek His approval. (1) Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice by following God's word. Enoch was translated from mortality by living and walking according to His word. Noah was counted heir of righteousness when he built the ark according to His instruction. (2) They were blessed and approved by God because of their obedience to God, and of their trust in His word. (3) Without obedience to His word, no one could please God. Therefore, one must obey His word to please Him. (4) He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
Verses 8 to 16. (1) By God's testimony of the eternal country, men of faith look beyond the temporal to the eternal. They recognize that they are strangers in the earth, but that they yearn for Heaven. Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob were examples of pilgrims. (2) Though these had not seen the fulfilling of the promise at their death, yet they believed in God's testimony and lived faithfully to God. (3) Sarah was able to conceive a child in her old age, because she knew that God was faithful to fulfill His word.
Verses 17 to 22. Men of faith believe in the delivering power of God. Abraham was able to offer up his son on the altar, because he trusted in God's promise concerning his seed through Isaac, and His power to raise him from the dead. Isaac, Jacob and Joseph trusted in the omnipotence of God as seen in their last profession at the point of death. They believed that He would fulfill His promise of eternal glory for them, and that He would deliver them from the pang of death.
Verses 23 to 38. (1) Men of faith would risk their physical life and material prosperity for the will of God. (2) Men of faith will not be afraid of the threatening of the enemies. (3) By the word of God, men of faith would live victoriously for Him. (4) Though God may not deliver His people from physical harm, He will fulfill His promise to them. (5) God's promise is conditioned upon men's obedience to His word (v.30). (6) The reproach a man suffers for Christ is worthier than the riches of the world and the moment pleasure of sin. (7) Moses observing the Passover is spoken of by faith, because he followed God's instruction exactly. (8) Men of faith will patiently endure sufferings and trials in view of God's promise.
Verses 39-40. (1) Christians should be encouraged to live faithfully to God, in spite of trials and sufferings. Since they had better knowledge of His redemptive purpose, and had better privileges before God, as comparing with the O.T. saints. (2) God intends to bless both groups together. He therefore has delayed fulfilling the promise to the O.T. saints. (3) God's people must be living by faith and dying by faith so to obtain His promise of eternal life.
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 12
Be ye holy: for God is a consuming fire!
I. (1-13) Be ye strong!
A. (1-4) Christians, run the race with endurance!
1. (1) Lay aside every weight that hinder you!
2. (2) Look at Jesus' victory and exaltation!
3. (3) Be not faint in your mind!
4. (4) You are able to win!
B. (5-13) Appreciate Discipline!
1. (5-8) God disciplines His legitimate children.
a. (5) Despise not the chastening of the Lord.
b. (6-8) Reasons are given.
(1) (6) God chastens them whom He loves.
(2) (7-8) The sign of His acceptance is loving discipline.
2. (9-11) God's purpose in discipline is good.
a. (9-10) He purposes to purge Christians.
b. (11) He purposes them to bear fruit of righteousness.
3. (12-13) Respond to God's discipline!
a. (12) Be strong!
b. (13) Go forward!
II. (14-29) Be ye holy!
A. (14-17) Admonitions of pursuing holiness are given.
1. (14) No one can see God without holiness.
2. (15-17) Beware of falling from His grace!
a. (15) Be not defiled by sin.
b. (16) Not to sell your eternal life for a pot of meat!
c. (17) Do not forfeit your salvation!
B. (18-21) The sons of Israel approached to Mount Sinai.
1. (18) Christians are not come to Mount Sinai.
2. (19-21) The approach to Mount Sinai terrified the Israelites.
C. (22-24) Christians approach to Mount Zion.
1. (22) It is the city of the Living God.
2. (22) It is the abode of holy angels.
3. (23) It is the abode of God, the Judge of all.
4. (23) It is the abode of righteous men.
5. (24) It is the abode of Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant.
D. (25-29) Admonitions are given.
1. (25) Obey Him that speaks to us from Heaven!
2. (26-27) God will shake the earth and the Heaven by His judgement.
3. (28) Be thankful to God for the unmovable Kingdom!
4. (28) Serve Him with reverence!
5. (29) God is a consuming fire!
Exegetical Commentary of Hebrews 12
After narrating the heroes of faith in the prior chapter, the author began to encourage the readers to finish their Christian profession. The saints lived in the Old Dispensation should be their inspiration to endure trials and sufferings, who obtained good reports by their trust in God's testimony (Heb.11:2). Christians ought to remove all hindrance that would hinder their faithfulness to God. No doubt, sin would be the chief hindrance and enemy for Christian to overcome. Sin indeed is deceitful and stubborn. One could be bound by sin without knowing it, and the influence of sin will try her best to entice men. Christians should not be weary nor faint in their striving against sin, but should look unto the example of Jesus for motivation. He indeed is the perfect example of faith and of endurance. By setting His mind on the joy of Heaven and the accomplishment of God's redemption, He was able to endure the humiliation and suffering of the cross.
In verses 5 to 13, the author urged the readers to appreciate God's discipline for them. God allows His children to be tested and tried, in order to build up their character. Many people reject Christian religion because they do not understand the problem of evil and of suffering. The problem of evil and suffering is caused by the abuse of the freedom of choice. God created men to be free moral agents, but sadly, they rebelled against His perfect will. God allows the problem of suffering and evil in the world, in order that men may turn unto Him to obtain life. God will chasten them whom He loves. Therefore, Divine discipline is the sign of acceptance. This chastening principle could be traced in the filial love of human fathers. Naturally and reasonably, they will discipline their children out of good purpose and unto good end. Much more is the Father of spirits, Who desires His children to be partakers of His holiness. Therefore, He exercises His discipline upon Christians for the end of their perfection in character. Christians therefore ought to be strong to endure sufferings and trials so that they may make use of the exercises of discipline and may produce the fruit of spiritual maturity.
The author then appealed the readers unto peace and holiness. Peace to all men is commanded of Christians. It does not only refer to have a peaceful character and attitude, but also refers to making peace with others. Real peace comes from a right knowledge of God's will and a obedient faith to His will (Rom.1:18; 5:1). Therefore, Christians must preach the Gospel of peace to the lost (Luke 19:10). Holiness is an essential character for Christians toward their God. Without holiness, no one can see the face of God. Holiness is the separation from sin and unto God's service. Regarding to sin, they should avoid to be controlled by the elements of sin. The consequence of sin is still death, and separation from God (Rom.6:23; Isa.59:1-2). Esau sold his birthright for a pot of stew, and later was rejected from the promise of blessing, though he sought it with tears. Christians should not forfeit their eternal salvation for something that is cheap, such as a moment of pleasure in sexual desire, or speaking a lie, or compromising the truth.
From verses 18 to 29, he gave another appeal for holiness. He recounted the approach of the Israelites unto Mount Sinai, that they were terrified by the manifestation of God's presence. How much more Christians have to pursue holiness! Because they approach Mount Zion, the holy city of the Living God, where holy angels dwell, and perfected saints abide, and is the abode of the Mediator of the New Covenant and of the Judge of all men, God. Christians ought to obey the voice of Jesus Who speaks from Heaven so that they might not be condemned for rebellion against the Great King. Moreover, they ought to hold fast their Christian system, and to serve God with thankfulness and with love. Since God will soon shake the earth and Heaven by the word of His judgement. Only they who obey His Son shall remind. It is a great privilege for Christians to approach the presence of God, but it will be trembling for them who disobey Him. God is a consuming fire, Who will purge away sin and punish the offenders of His decree.
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 12
Verses 1 to 4. (1) The example of faithful O.T. saints and the example of Jesus should be inspiration for Christians to live faithfully to God, and to endure trials and sufferings. (2) Christ endured the cross patiently, for He looked at the joy of Heaven and the joy of accomplishing God's will. (3) Christians are called to run the race with endurance, and to strive against sin, and to lay aside everything that hinder their race, and not to be weary and faint in their Christian profession.
Verses 5 to 13. The purpose of Divine discipline is good and profitable. (1) God will chasten them whom He loves. (2) Divine chastening is the sign of legitimate children of God. (3) It is natural and reasonable for earthly fathers to exercise discipline for their children. Much more the Father of all spirits, He purposes to chasten His children for good. He desires that they should be partakers of His holiness and righteousness through making use of His Divine discipline. (4) The means of chastening may be painful for Christians, but its end is profitable for them. (5) Christians ought to be strong in His ways, and to take opportunity of God's chastening.
Verses 14-17. (1) Christians are called to have peace with all men. Peace is not only referred to their peaceful disposition, but is also referred to making peace for men toward God by the Gospel (Rom.1:18; 5:1). (2) Christians are called to be holy. Holiness means one's separation from sin and service unto God. (3) Christians are called to embrace their eternal salvation. They should not forfeit their reward by a cheap price, such as, a moment pleasure, a lie.
Verses 18-29. (1) The approach of Mount Sinai under the First Dispensation is compared with the approach on Mount Zion under the New Covenant. It was terrifying for the Israelites to approach the presence of God's manifestation. They had to sanctified themselves by physical cleansing for three days before God would speak to them on Mount Sinai. Christians, however come to the spiritual and Heavenly realm, Mount Zion. It is the abode of God, and Christ, and holy angels, and perfected saints. It should call them to pursue holiness and righteousness. (2) Mount Zion is called the city of the Living God and the Heavenly Jerusalem. (3) The church is described as the church of the firstborn, and the general assembly, and the unmovable Kingdom.
(4) Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant. His blood promises better things than the blood of Abel. He speaks from Heaven and must be obeyed. His voice also shake the earth and the Heaven, which means He will judge men by His word. (5) God is the Judge of all and a consuming fire. He will execute justice on those who reject His Son and His word. (6) It is a great privilege for Christians to have such glorious approach to God's presence, yet it is terrifying for them who have not purified their souls with the truth. (7) Christians are called to be thankful to God, to serve Him with reverence, to obey the voice of Jesus, to hold fast their Christian profession, to pursue holiness, to be sober-minded.
Analytical Outline of Hebrews 13 Be faithful in Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I. (1-7) An appeal to Christian virtue is given.
A. (1) Love your brother in the Lord.
B. (2) Be hospitable to strangers.
C. (3) Relieve the afflicted.
D. (4) Marriage is honorable and pure.
E. (5) Be content!
F. (6) Trust in God's providence.
G. (7) Follow good examples of faithful elders.
II. (8-16) An appeal to Christian faithfulness is given.
A. (8-9) Beware of false teaching.
1. (8) Christ's teaching never changes.
2. (9) False teaching is identified.
B. (10-12) False teaching is refuted. The idea of sacrificial feast is foreign to the Bible.
1. (10) Christians serve God in spiritual service.
2. (11) The High-priests could not feast on sin-offering.
3. (12) Christ, the sacrifice for sin, suffered without the gate.
C. (13-16) Christians offer spiritual sacrifice before God's altar.
1. (13-14) They are to suffer reproaches for Christ.
2. (15) They are to offer praise unto God continually.
3. (16) They are to do good for God's name.
III. (17-25) The letter is concluded.
A. (17-19) The final charge is given.
1. (17) Submit yourself to the elders.
2. (18-19) Pray for us.
B. (20-25) Final greetings are given.
Exegetical Commentary of Hebrews 13
The author came to his final charge and conclusion in this chapter. From verses 1 to 7, he gave admonitions to the readers. (1) They should love one another continually. Christian love is emphasized many times in the New Testament. John the apostle by inspiration defines the degree of love as a self-sacrificial love for the brethren (1 John 3:16). Paul wrote the love of Christians as members of one body that one should share another's pain and joy (1 Cor.12:13). Love indeed is the distinct mark of Christianity (John 17:20-21). (2) They should be hospitable to strangers, the appeal was that Abraham received angels of God without knowing it at the outset (Gen.18:3). During N.T. time, there were travellers from city to city, it was a custom for people to show hospitality to travellers. Christians today ought to do good to others also (Gal.6:9-10). (3) Christians in the apostolic time were called to relieve those who were in bond for the Gospel. Since they belonged to the same body of believers. Christians today ought to relieve the afflicted and the needy, which is the mark of pure religion (James 1:27). (4) Marriage is honorable and pure before God. Christians ought to remain pure in their marriage, that is, they must not commit sexual immorality, nor adultery. (5) Christians should be contented for material things, but not be covetous. They are to focus on spiritual things rather than the material. (6) Christians must trust in the providential care of God so that they might not be fear of the afflictions in life. God will deliver His children. (7) Christians are to remember the elders and teaching of the word, and to follow their good example of faith. They ought to respect the laborers of the Gospel.
From verses 8 to 16, the author warned the readers regarding the danger of false teaching. He first reminded them that Christ would never change. Since Jesus is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Heb.13:8), His teaching will not suffer changed. Therefore, they should not listen nor obey any teaching that was contrary to His teaching. The author identified this form of false teaching to be emphasizing on the offering of meat. It probably referred to Judaism, under which priests ate meat sacrifices with the offerers. It also may be referred to some people who misapplied the teaching of the Lord's supper. Instead of taking it as a commemoration of Christ's redemptive work, they took it as a sacrificial feast, believing that they would obtain power by eating the meat of sacrifice. The author refuted such a idea of sensual practice in the Christian system. (1) Christianity is a spiritual and heart religion, but is not a carnal religion. (2) The idea of receiving power by eating the sacrifice is foreign to the teaching of the Scripture. The sin sacrifices offered by the high-priests were not permitted to be eaten. After the slaughtering of the sacrifice and the sprinkling of the blood, the whole body of the sacrifice was consumed by fire without the camp. (3) Christ was suffered without the camp, and offered His blood to God for the cleansing of His people. Never was His body intended to be eaten by His people. After refuting this false teaching, the author began to explain the altar of the Christian system. Christians are to offer spiritual sacrifices unto God by a spiritual altar through the Great-High-Priest. The sacrifices which they offer to God are: to suffer reproach for Christ, and to praise and thank God continually, and to do good in God's name.
From verses 17 to 25, the author concluded the epistle with a final charge and greeting. They should submit to the overseers of their soul, since it was God's order for the elders to rule over them by the word and with their example. The author urged their prayers for his deliverance from unjust accusation and for his arrival to meet the readers. After this plea, he bursted into praise for God's redemptive purpose in Christ for the Hebrew Christians. Only Christ's blood could perfect them to serve God in good works, and to please Him. The final conclusion of the author for the readers was to consider the word of exhortation contained in the epistle. After his expression of affection to see them with Timothy, he saluted the recipients of the epistles. The place of writing was probably Rome, for the greeting from the Romans was sent to the Hebrew Christians.
Doctrinal Summary of Hebrews 13
Verses 1 to 7. (1) Christians are called to love one for another. It is a love that should be practiced continually. (2) They must be hospitable to others. (3) They should relieve the afflicted by visiting them. Since they belong to the same body, it is then natural for them to be empathy one for another (1 Cor.12:13). (4) Marriage is honorable before God. Since He has instituted the marriage covenant between a man and woman (Gen.2: 18, 21-25). (5) God will judge them who violate His marriage law, such as whoremongers and adulterers. Marriage is pure and must be practiced with His law (Mat. 19:9). (6) Christians should be content of material things, but not be covetous. They ought to seek His kingdom and His righteousness first, God will provide their needs. (7) They ought to trust in the providential care of God, and be not afraid of the afflictions in life. Unnecessary fear and anxiety are sin before God (Mat. 6:32-34). (8) They have to respect their teachers in the Gospel, and follow them who have good examples of faith.
Verses 8 to 16. (1) Jesus is immutable, which refers to His attributes and ways will never change. His authoritative teaching will never be changed, since He gave it with all authority (Mat. 28:18-20; Heb. 1:1-2). (2) Christians must reject false teachings. (3) False teachings are foreign and contrary to the teaching of the Bible. (4) Christianity is a spiritual religion. Men should not practice it in a sensual way. They do not offer meat offering to God. But they offer spiritual sacrifices to God through a spiritual altar. Their sacrifices to God are: to suffer reproaches for Christ's name, and to praise and thank God continually, and to do good for His name. (5) The concept of eating a sacrificial feast is foreign to the Bible. There is no power in eating the sacrificial feast. The Lord's table is not a sacrificial feast, but a commemoration of His sacrificial death and redemptive work. The observers of the Lord's table do not eat the body of Christ, nor drink His blood, for they are only emblems to symbolize His great sacrifice. The sin-offerings under the First Covenant was not permitted to be eaten by the priests, but were to be burned. Christ was sacrificed as a sin-offering without the city, but not a sacrifice to be partaken by the offerers.
Verses 17-25. (1) The relation between the elders and believers is described. Christians ought to submit to the overseers that rule over them. The overseers will give an account to God, and they should do the work of overseeing with joy. (2) Affection of Christian is seen in the author's desire to see the readers, and his wish for their perfection. Praying for others is another expression of Christian love. (3) Jesus Christ is the center point of redemption. He was raised from the dead to be the Great-High-Priest and the King of glory. He is the Great Shepherd of God's people. He also purifies His people by His own blood to put them in the New Covenant. Only by His mediatory work could Christians be perfected and accepted before God. (4) Words of the inspired men must be studied carefully (Heb.13:22).